Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Getting to the bottom

There must be something about the Forschungszentrum that makes people desperate to get to the bottom of things. Perhaps it's the slides. In their shade, in side-meeting rooms, I found people trying to understand where we are, where do we go, and what can we do together.

In the Resource Centres forum, managers of computing centres made first steps towards understanding resource allocation and usage patterns in terms of VOs and VRCs. Not surprisingly, all resource providers are bound by peculiarities of national funding, and ideas like e.g. a common VO for individual opportunistic users, though technically simple, meet inevitable political obstacles that can not be resolved by Resource Centers. But at least we come to understand it.

In the Information System Workshop, developers of five different solutions were confronted by the feedback from key user communities, admitting that they hardly use all the advanced features, opting for pull-based frameworks that need only minimal information. Developers of dynamic information systems met developers of quasi-static databases and discovered plenty of overlaps. In all this tangle, the desire to reduce the complexity is quite obvious, and EMI appears to be on the path towards it, having agreed on a common solution, and even delivering a prototype.

Even the unofficial ad-hoc meetings and corridor chats follow the same pattern: people try to look deep into the issues, understand and define real priorities, sometimes even daring to make a fresh start.

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