Minutes of the second meeting of the workgroup infrastructure and HPC, Feb 22, Linz
Thomas Rattei, Florian Goldenberg (DMES, University of Vienna)
Stephan Winkler (FH OÖ, Hagenberg)
Stephan Pabinger (AIT)
Nikolaus Fortelny (CeMM)
Moser, Cador (MS2 IT company)
Markus Wagner, Robert Gittenberger (init.at informationstechnologie GmbH)
Hemma Bauer (Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research)
Janos Kiss, Alois Schlögl (IST)
Martin Thaler, Alexander Spinn (University of Innsbruck)
Alexandra Graf (FH Campus Wien)
Markus Hickel (acib GmbH/ BOKU Vienna)
Andras Aszodi, Attila Gyenesei (VBCF)
Christoph Sensen, Juliane Feichtinger (TU Graz)
Slave Trajanoski, Andrea Groselj-Strele (MU Graz)
Several groups presented their current bioinformatics infrastructure and research with slides:
One issue raised by the Ministry during the presentations was why there are so may decentralized clusters: one reason is the use of patient data from clinical studies, which can not be transferred outside the research group for legal reasons. But even for all other types of data, the specific requirements in bioinformatic research are very diverse, ans almost never covered by a larger central machine.
Another issue is the lack of service and support in bioinformatic computation: usually, the work is done by life scientists or medical scientists, most of which are not trained in computational methods, even less so in HPC. Therefore, user support and training, as well as software support is strongly needed.
This should be coordinated across Austria, with more cooperation between groups.
Funding is difficult in this area, especially with the current funding system, as the cooperation (especially between universities and research institutes) is lacking in many cases. If the training/education is on PhD level, it is even impossible to cooperate with a FH, for example.
An online database for courses has been suggested.
Part of this is also addressed in the HRSM project SOLID currently running at Uni Vienna, Medical Uni Vienna and Uni Innsbruck. The possibility of creating an elixir node in Austria was discussed: The advantages and general points were presented in slides.
Elixir has several aspects, but the most prominent one is a set of databases, many of which are essential. Software (and its maintenance) is also one of these aspects, where Austria could strongly participate with applications like ViennaRNA.
It has been shown in the past that several large bioinformatics projects are rejected at EU level because of the lacking elixir membership, or groups had to go via foreign nodes get accepted.
The ministry could fund the network fee of elixir, but the actual node has to be funded by the participating institutions. It would be operated by the bioinformatik.at platform.
As a first step, observer status in elixir should be achieved.
The progression of further meetings of bioinformatik.at was discussed: There will be a meeting alongside the GCB2018 in Vienna, and the meetings alongside the AHPC will continue. Another possibility would be alongside a meeting of the oegmbt. A meeting focused on service and support is planned via the "call for life".