Geneva, July 9, 2012. Helix Nebula – the science cloud, a partnership established a few months ago to support the enormous computing needs of European scientists and to create a computer market in cloud for the public sector in Europe, announced today the initial deployment of its first flagship applications in high energy physics, molecular biology and disaster risk management.
Helix Nebula is a collaboration between major science projects and large companies, focusing on leading IT vendors and three of the largest European research centers (CERN1, EMBL2, and ESA3), and has just received funding of 1.8M € from the European Commission. This partnership is in line with the European Commission’s Digital Agenda: it highlights a unified approach to data protection regulation, as well as lean and efficient governance. It also aims to support economic development in Europe by making its services available to a wider community.
The first results of the current feasibility demonstration phase show that CERN, EMBL and ESA have successfully deployed demanding scientific applications each requiring tens of thousands of calculations in data centers operated by Atos. , CloudSigma and T-Systems.
By successfully deploying the flagship application of the ATLAS experiment, CERN was able to perform simulations that were previously performed on the Global Computing Grid for the LHC, the platform that contributed to the recently announced results of the LHC. Higgs boson tracking. “These early deployments have confirmed that the implementation of a cloud-based, multi-vendor public cloud infrastructure is a large-scale enterprise that can only be done in stages. The first results, however, are very encouraging and we are hopeful that we will be able to reach our goal during the two-year pilot phase, “said Frédéric Hemmer, Head of CERN’s IT Department.
The EMBL team has successfully deployed and tested on cloud computing infrastructures from different vendors its new software based on a pipeline architecture for large scale genome analysis. Using large real genomic data sets from around the world from the EMBL sequencing machines, the EMBL proof of concept phase provided an in-depth assessment of key elements, such as scalability , performance and on-demand provision of resources for high performance computations and fast data storage in these clouds. Paul Flicek, Head of Vertebrate Genomics at EMBL’s European Institute of Bioinformatics, says: “Setting up computation infrastructures that are powerful enough for cloud genomic analysis is not easy. We are therefore very satisfied with the first results of the feasibility demonstration phase. This is an important step that will allow, later in the Helix Nebula pilot phase, to make our software available to scientists around the world. “