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Report on the 26th PRAGMA Workshop

2014/04/18

The National Center for High-performance Computing (NCHC) hosted the 5th and the 14th Pacific Rim Applications and Grid Middleware Assembly (PRAGMA) in 2003 and 2008 respectively. The 26th PRAGMA workshop, held April 9th ~ 11th of this year, was the third time that the NCHC has hosted the event. This year the workshop was held at The Magic School of Green Technologies of National Cheng Kung University. A total of 132 participants from 35 different research institutes coming from 8 different countries (mainly from Taiwan and the US) participated in the three-day event. Twenty representatives from the US attended the event including several National Science Foundation (NSF) officials, the co-chairman of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON), as well as an additional 32 other international scholars. Deputy Minister Yi-Bing Lin of the Ministry of Science and Technology and Vice Chairman and President Jonathan Tsang of ASUS shared their thoughts on leadership of domestic academia and industry during the keynote speeches.

The theme of PRAGMA 26 was “Living with Big Data.” The PRAGMA 26 workshop focused on the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) to the environment, industry, and daily life, in terms of technology development of observation networks, common data formats, analysis and forecast computing models, and protocols, interfaces, front-end and back-end information software/hardware technology frameworks of metadata. Also as a result of PRAGMA 26, monitoring data was provided for global and regional environment and biodiversity research, as well as global meteorological observations data being integrated into important environmental issues that provide evidence supporting global warming. In terms of industrial applications, the 26th PRAGMA focused on the development of ICT platforms and related analysis tools, and in particular on the integration of monitoring networks for analysis and forecast.

During the workshop, Taiwan’s representatives presented their most recent developments in HPC, high speed optical fiber networks, big data, and cloud computing results. Also, the results of cooperative projects displayed by other participating countries were presented as well. This provided an opportunity for integration and alignment with infrastructure and applications of international research institutes with the goal of driving technological development in Pacific Rim countries towards big data. Furthermore, Taiwan plays a leading role in the distance science and earth science work groups and continues to make progress therein.

This year, biologists from Academia Sinica joined the PRAGMA bioscience work group, thus playing an important role in the avian influenza grid, a field that is expected to bring new concepts related to international public health. In the field of distance science, GLEON’s Co-chairman, Paul Hanson, led core developers in discussions on future cooperation matters. The NCHC also participated in the new e-Learning work group and served as co-chair of the work group. The PRAGMA Software Defined Network (SDN) Testbed was jointly established during the conference to share network resources and to provide Taiwan the opportunity for further application and experimentation.

There are two layers to the meaning of “living”—the first being the constant use of something such that it becomes a part of daily life; the second being the emphasis on the technologies that bring significant benefits to society and the economy. For the former, over the past five years or so and through cooperation and competition, countries have invested considerable resources to develop grid technology and associated applications. Development results are applied in practice as part of improvement measures. According to Atkinson’s trend forecast, the establishment of information network infrastructures will bring a paradigm shift in science and technology. However, Taiwan has relatively far fewer resources than the US and other developed countries. Taiwan’s primary R&D is in basic scientific research, while it, at the same time, gradually develops innovative and practical technologies in hopes of bringing substantial benefits to both its society and economy. 

Taiwan is one of the PRAGMA leaders both in its organizational development and technology application. By hosting the PRAGMA 26th workshop, the NCHC is able to achieve its short-term goals, and by taking part in the advisory committee, the NCHC can also participate in setting PRAGMA’s long-term strategy. By inviting internationally-renowned scholars from other PRAGMA institutes to visit Taiwan, more opportunities will be created for domestic academia to engage in international cooperation.

the photo of PRAGMA Chairman Dr. Arzberger
¡½ PRAGMA Chairman Dr. Peter Arzberger presents

the group photo
¡½ The PRAGMA 26th Workshop group photo

 
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