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Rapid: Giving Computational Science a Friendly Face

Rapid is a cost-effective and efficient way of designing and delivering portal interfaces to tasks that require remote compute resources. The aim of Rapid is to make completing these tasks as simple as purchasing a book or booking a flight on the web.

The philosophy of Rapid is to deliver customised graphical user interfaces that enable domain specialists to achieve their tasks. These tasks make use of domain-specific applications that run on remote compute resources; a requirement which is satisfied by translating the task into one or several computational jobs to be performed on Grid and Cloud Computing infrastructures, and High-Performance Computing facilities.

Customised interfaces allow tasks to be performed without referring to terminology about the underlying computational infrastructure. Moreover, the system allows to expose particular features of applications as not to overwhelm the user.

Where to start
Have a look at what Rapid can produce in the form of a video. If you like it, then have a look at a short video that explains how to install Rapid and deliver your first portal. Move on to the basic tutorial and finally, consult the manual to unlock advanced features.

Relevant files and media

Funding and support
The development and application of Rapid is funded by EPSRC, BBSRC, NERC, JISC, ENGAGE (JISC) and OMII-UK (EPSRC)

Rapid News

Giving Computational Science a Friendly Face

J. I. van Hemert and Koetsier, J., Giving Computational Science a Friendly Face, Zero-In, vol. 1, no. 3, p. 12--13, 2009.

Instead, they have to deal with archaic command-line tools or generic portals that mimic the technical complexity of the underlying infrastructure. These interfaces are expensive to use, require much training, and their laborious and intricate processes often lead to errors. Of course exceptions to this situation exist. The most fortunate researchers have access to web portals or scientific gateways that were built to enable their specific tasks.

Rapid Tutorial at Advanced Distributed Services Summer School

Speaker(s): 
Presentation Type: 
tutorial

Tutorial on how to create a basic portlet with Rapid, which includes:

  • installation of required software
  • authentication to data and compute resources through username and password
  • transportation of data before and results after computation
  • use of rich user interface elements, such as a file browser and job monitoring
  • submitting the job to another computer
Date and time: 
Thursday, 10 September, 2009 - 09:00
Location: 
Advanced Distributed Services Summer School 2009, Coseners House, near Oxford
Projects: 

Rapid Development of Computational Science Portals

Speaker(s): 
Presentation Type: 
talk

Motivation: Scientific web portals are seen as the way forward to improve upon the slow uptake in use of utility computing infrastructure and high-performance computing facilities. Currently, two types of portals exist: general-purpose portals and domain-specific portals. The first type closely resembles the underlying technical infrastructure of compute-job submission systems, thereby providing little appeal to a wide range of domain specialists. The second type is tailored to the application specifications and their end-users' requirements.

Date and time: 
Monday, 14 September, 2009 - 11:10
Location: 
IWPLS’09 International Workshop on Portals for Life Sciences, e-Science Institute, Edinburgh, UK
Projects: 

Rapid: giving computational science a friendly face

Speaker(s): 
Presentation Type: 
invited

Rapid is a unique approach to quickly designing and delivering web portal interfaces for applications that require large amounts of computing resources or that need to run on specific servers. We will demonstrate the success of Rapid in a number of projects across a wide range of disciplines: brain imaging, chemistry, microscopy, engineering and seismology.

Date and time: 
Wednesday, 16 September, 2009 - 14:30
Location: 
Rm 5215, James Clerk Maxwell Building, Kings Buildings
Projects: 

Screencast: Rapid Portal for Brain Imaging

We show a screencast of an example portal created using Rapid, which enables perfusion imaging in the context of brain imaging for stroke. To see this demo you require Flash to be installed. Perfusion imaging allows locating which parts of the brain are affected by a stroke in terms of oxygen deprivation.

Topic of this submission: 
Research topics: 
Projects: 

Rapid portlets are a hit with chemists

Portlets make inaccessible technology accessible, because they run from within a browser—a familiar interface for even the most technophobic researcher. To encourage the use of portlets, it is necessary for them to be easy to develop. This led OMII-UK to fund Rapid, an easy-to-use portlet development tool.

Projects: 
Topic of this submission: 

Brain Imaging using a Web Browser

Speaker(s): 
Presentation Type: 
poster

Albert Heyrovsky, David Rodríguez González, Trevor Carpenter, Joanna Wardlaw, Jos Koetsier, and Jano van Hemert

Date and time: 
Wednesday, 17 June, 2009 - 11:00
Location: 
SINAPSE Annual Scientific Meeting 2009, The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
Projects: 

Rapid Portals for Seismological Waveform Data

Speaker(s): 
Presentation Type: 
talk

We explain how new e-science technology can be used to make modern seismology analyses available via web browsers. These analyses will be run on local compute clusters. The users of the analysis packages do not have to be aware of any of the underlying e-infrastructure; they focus on the domain-specific task at hand.

Date and time: 
Wednesday, 1 July, 2009 - 15:00
Location: 
NERIES Annual Meeting 2009, Hotel Mitland, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Projects: 

Rapid with new Plugin Architecture released

Version: 
0.9.0

New plug-in architecture using the Jython scripting Language included. This allows portlets to dynamically change whilst being deployed in a portal framework.

Projects: 

Rapid portlets are a hit with chemists

Portlets make inaccessible technology accessible, because they run from within a browser – a familiar interface for even the most technophobic researcher. To encourage the use of portlets, it is necessary for them to be easy to develop. This led OMII-UK to fund Rapid, an easy-to-use portlet development tool. Chemists from the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews (EaStCHEM) have recently used the software to create portlets that have allowed access to computational-chemistry software by over 140 students.

Projects: 
Topic of this submission: 

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