Tuesday, March 16, 2010

An ISGC 2010 Reflection

This is Andy Turner's last in a series of GridCast posts about ISGC 2010. His previous post is here. A list of all his posts in chronological order is as follows:
* An ISGC 2010 GridCast Introduction
* A First Full Day Back
* Day of the Social Simulation Tutorial
* Day of the iRODS Workshop
* From Infrastructure towards Applications Research
* A Walk in the Sunshine
* An ISGC 2010 Reflection

I am writing this after a short break following my return from Taiwan to the UK. Bob Jones has already posted his ISGC 2010: Round up, so this is just a brief personal reflection on the event from me, more details of what I got up to can be found here. All GridCast posts tagged with "ISGC 2010" should be available here.

To start with I'd like to add my thanks to the organisers and local hosts. ISGC 2010 was a well organised event and the local hosting was exceptional (food, entertainment, accommodation and information).

ISGC events focus on computational infrastructure and providing resources for science and society on both an international and local level. Learning about what resources exist and how they can be accessed is key for an applications focussed researcher like myself, but details of infrastructure management and provision is not very interesting. However, having an ear out during more infrastructure focussed sessions whilst doing other things was worthwhile. One thing I enjoyed in learning about the infrastructure work was the appreciation of the importance of people to the organisations delivering it. For instance in the Grid Security and Networking I Session, Mingchao Ma talking about Grid Operational Security in the UK reflected on the need for a trusted and stable team of people "that know each other".

The importance of people in organisations theme took centre stage in the brilliant key note "A contribution to e-Wissenschaft" by Tobias Blanke where the focus was on people connections and the applied use of infrastructure for humanities research. A focus "connecting people" summarises the event in my view, the coming together of a cross section of the eResearch community is important for our work, and the coming together of people from different places helps us develop an appreciation of each others cultures and concerns so we can live together in peace and harmony.

What I liked most about this event was meeting people and making friends, it is what I look forward to about most events, but at ISGC 2010, like ISGC 2009, the people were friendly and it was a pleasure. In terms of work, this has helped develop some existing collaborations and formed the basis for new ones, friendship and trust.

One further thing to note that pleased me (as a geographer) was the considerable number of specifically geographical applications presented in the sessions. We are all geographers to some extent!

Farewell, and long live GridCast, maybe I will post more for you another time :-)

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