Overview of the NSG Portal:
The Neuroscience Gateway (NSG) project facilitates access and use of National Science Foundation (NSF) funded High Performance Computing (HPC), High Throughput Computing (HTC) and cloud resources by neuroscientists. Computational modeling of cells and networks has become an essential part of neuroscience research, and investigators are using models to address problems of ever increasing complexity, e.g. large scale network models and optimization or exploration of high dimensional parameter spaces. Similarly processing of experimental data (EEG, MRI, fMRI etc.) increasingly require compute power of HPC, HTC and cloud. NSG catalyzes such research by lowering or eliminating the administrative and technical barriers that currently make it difficult for investigators to use HPC, HTC and cloud resources. It offers free computer time to neuroscientists acquired via the supercomputer time allocation process managed by the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) Resource Allocation Committee (XRAC). NSG provides access to popular neuroscience tools, pipelines, data procssing software etc. installed on various computing resources. It also provides a community mailing list for neuroscientists to collaborate and share ideas.
NSG can be accessed through a simple web portal or programmatically using RESTful services. NSG provides an administratively and technologically streamlined environment for uploading models, specifying HPC/HTC/cloud job parameters, querying running job status, receiving job completion notices, and storing and retrieving output data. NSG transparently distributes user's jobs to appropriate XSEDE resources.
The NSG team collaborates with developers of neural simulation tools, data processing software, pipeline etc. to optimally install, test, and benchmark these applications on compute resources (HPC, HTC, cloud), and allow developers to test new versions before they are released. In recent years NSG has become a platform for dissemination of new modeling tools and data procssing pipelines being developed by neuroscientists. This project provides transformative impact by enabling access by members of the neuroscience community to HPC/HTC/cloud resources for research and education. NSG enables students and researchers, who lack access to large scale compute resources and are thus at a significant disadvantage compared to very few who have it, by removing the barriers for progress for many including historically underrepresented groups.
Computational modeling and data processing offer opportunities for students and researchers at institutions with limited resources for wet lab or experimental infrastructure to participate in leading edge science. Projects such as this, which facilitate access to large scale compute resources, democratize participation in science by mitigating the financial barriers to research infrastructure.
Note: We provide fair share amount of computing time to all NSG users based on the amount of allocation we receive each year and the number of users (both of which are growing over years) as can be seen from the Usage Metrics link. It should be noted that do not provide unlimited supercomputing time. We work with NSG users according to their needs and adjust the amount provided to NSG users. As user's supercomputing needs grow to a larger amount, US users can write XSEDE allocation proposals to acquire their own time and then use that at the backend of NSG. We can help US researchers write allocation proposals to acquire their own supercomputer time on XSEDE resources.