The three scientific disciplines to which ERN is devoting the majority of its attention today are Structural Biology, Materials Science, and Computer Science. The first two areas span the life sciences and physical sciences, and are heavily reliant on computationally intensive simulations and sharing of large data sets generated by physical instruments for analysis. For Computer Scientists, the ERN aims to serve as a platform for moving research ideas into production use.
Materials Discovery is an area where recent advances in machine learning, together with advances in computing and high throughput measurements of materials properties, offer the potential for new data-driven approaches to predicting properties of materials based on their descriptors. The ERN is holding a
series of meetings and workshops that are exploring opportunities to simplify information sharing and access to instrumentation within the materials discovery community.
Structural biologists are generating huge datasets as they develop new instruments and software to better understand the makeup of biological macromolecules. As datasets have grown in size, demand for the specialized computing skills required to handle them has exploded. The ERN is holding a series of meetings and workshops that are exploring opportunities to both improve the efficiency with which well-resourced labs can obtain scientific results and make computational resources and techniques more easily accessible to underserved institutions.
Results from Computer Science research continue to transform and accelerate computationally intensive research. ERN Computer Science meetings and workshops are exploring ways to make the federated resources of the ERN available to support CS-centric research in algorithms, architecture, and tools. At the same time, it is exploring opportunities for the results of this research to benefit computationally-intensive research in Materials Discovery, Structural Biology, and other disciplines supported by the ERN.
A central Systems goal of the ERN is to organize a federation of campus CI ecosystems, making it possible to leverage the similarities between our campuses while embracing the differences and the heterogeneity of our research environments. To accomplish this, the ERN must implement the necessary technology and policies, while encouraging participation by institutions of all types and sizes.
Spanning the areas of hardware, networking, federation architecture, scientific workflows, domain-specific models and tools, and laboratory instruments and analytics, ERN Architecture and Federation meetings and workshops are focused on defining and developing abstraction layers that make it easier to access and interconnect scientific instruments and the cyberinfrastructure that supports them.
In order to reduce barriers to collaboration between researchers on different campuses, it is important to address both technical and legal/administrative considerations. The ERN Policies meetings and workshops seek to bring together VPRs, CIOs, General Counsel, and IRB directors from colleges and universities of all sizes to develop the policies and administrate support needed to simplify collaboration among researchers and educators on different campuses.
Smaller, mid-sized, and under-resourced campuses make up the majority of the academic institutions within the Northeast. ERN Broadening the Reach meetings and workshops are learning from this community about how the ERN can most effectively support their research and education activities, while lowering barriers to collaboration among institutions of all sizes.