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 academic cloud computing resources by neuroscientists, and provision for accesing commercial cloud computing resources can also be made. 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. These require HPC resources. Processing of experimental data (EEG, MRI, fMRI etc.) increasingly require compute power of HTC, including Open Science Grid (OSG) resources, and cloud resources. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning research in neuroscience require combination of HPC, HTC, accelerators, and AI-focused hardware and other approaches require neuromorphic computing resources. NSG catalyzes such research by lowering or eliminating the administrative and technical barriers that currently make it difficult for investigators to use HPC, HTC, cloud,and AI resources, and in the near future access to neurmorphic computing resources (under development as a part of a NSF project) will be provided. 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 processing software and libraries installed optimally on HPC, HTC, OSG and cloud computing resources.
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, OSG and 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, OSG and cloud 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. NSG provides software developers access to a cloud development plantform which provides a software stack for development and testing of software before they are released. For the neuroscience community NSG is a platform for dissemination of modeling and simulation tools, data procssing software, pipelines and libraries that are being developed and used by neuroscientists.
NSG provides transformative impact to the neuroscience community by providing free and open access to HPC, HTC, OSC, cloud and accelerator resources, and an easy to use user-environment 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, storage resources and data management capabilities, 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 we 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.