• Proposal 545: ALMA Data in One Place

* Reviewer 1

Grade: 5.0

-- might be a bigger deal but context not given!

Title: ALMA Data in One Place (Strategic Study)

What is the current latency that users are experiencing and what is the projected improvement in time?

What is the cost for resources made available?

This sounds like a potential nightmare for system administrators, at least at my institution it would not be approved.

Use of the CCC resources could quite quickly get out of hand, what sort of long-term solution is there?

What is useage statistics of ALMA computing? How often would it be unavailable to users to meet computing needs? How will the proposers determine if it is better to join CCC or remain on NAASC resources?

To understand the impact of the project it will be important to compare the performance and availability to that of the current archive system. This does not seem to be in the plan.

Excellent qualifications ...

1. Alignment with NA ALMA Partnership strategic goals;

Comment.

The proposal plan to streamline access to data and computing resources matches well with the strategic plan to enable gains in usability an impact.

2. Strength of the scientific case for the proposed ALMA upgrade concept; Comment on the relevance to the ‘ALMA 2030’ development documents.

Comment. The concept of a widely accessible and secure archive together with possible on-demand computing resources and a granular access control is a positive step toward building what appears to be a robust, easily accessible archive. A weakness here is that the proposers do not even briefly describe current issues that require addressing and how significant an impact their approach will be. Another way to look at it is that while they will do studies to determine how good the program is they also need a comparison with the current system to understand how valuable it will be.

3. Quality of the upgrade conceptual design; Comment:

The overall design of the program seems reasonable for the time frame given and resources needed. Overall the plan seems well laid out in a number of phases and build on a foundation of work in hand to demonstrate some of the most basic concepts. As noted above, I have a concern that there is no discussion of a quantitative comparison of the program to currently available facilities to assess the improvement.

4. Readiness for production in the context of the ALMA Development Plan (the aim is to support a range of upgrades including both those which can be implemented rapidly and those requiring longer-term research and development);

Comment

It appears that this would be a program that could be implemented at various levels quite rapidly following the initial study. Some work will be required to document for users how to fully utilize the system but it does not appear that there are significant long-term R&D needed.

5. Strength of the consortium organization (if applicable);

Comment.

6. Qualifications of the key personnel of the Study;

Comment.

The proposers have a strong cv and track record that suggests they have the skills needed to undertake this study. It is not clear from the proposal if they have discussed specific implementation details yet with the NAASC and I have some concern that there could be issues or concerns at the system administration level that they will need to negotiate. I can clearly speak for my organization when I say that some of the proposed functionality would not be approved by our system admins.

7. Technical expertise, past experience (also in series production, if relevant) and technical facilities in the Institutes taking part in the Study;

Comment.

PI and co-I's as stated above are highly qualified for the program and the combination of UVa, NRAO and NAASC institutions is ideal for undertaking this study. If there is a way to improve the process, these are excellent proposers to do that.

8. Assessment of the level of risk inherent in the design;

Comment.

My assessment is that this is a low risk program on the surface, it seems nearly guaranteed that it will be possible to provide quick access to files and potentially additional computing resources through the planned program. The question to me remains the level of advancement that the program will bring.

9. Strength of the Scientific Team supporting the Study;

Comment.

As above, strong team.

10. Level of support guaranteed by the Institutes;

Comment.

All costs are funded by the study with no indicated in-kind contributions.

* Reviewer 4

Grade: 4.5

Title: ALMA Data in One Place

1. Alignment with NA ALMA Partnership strategic goals;

Proposal is well aligned with ALMA strategic goals, in the area of improving software and archive capabilities.

2. Strength of the scientific case for the proposed ALMA upgrade concept; Comment on the relevance to the ‘ALMA 2030’ development documents.

The proposed file-sharing system is relevant to ALMA2030 roadmap in the context of Better usability and impact and ease of data exchange with the ALMA data archive. Overall scientific yield is expected to increase if hurdles on data access, reduction and analysis, are reduced.

3. Quality of the upgrade conceptual design;

The GFFS shared file system and the CCC shared computing resources will help with management, archiving and analysis of ALMA data. Proposal would have been even stronger if alternative systems were described, with various features and cost-benefits compared. E.g., existing commercial alternatives such as available from Amazon services, may be more expensive, as stated in the proposal, but authors could have provided a table comparing the pros and cons. One distinct advantage of the proposed systems is being Open Source.

4. Readiness for production in the context of the ALMA Development Plan (the aim is to support a range of upgrades including both those which can be implemented rapidly and those requiring longer-term research and development);

The software systems described here already exist and are operational at other institutes. Interfacing with ALMA is part of the proposed work.

5. Strength of the consortium organization (if applicable);

Very strong consortium since Co-Is are from NRAO and NAASC.

6. Qualifications of the key personnel of the Study;

Only the PI’s (very long) CV is provided, as if co-Is don't matter. PI is a well established leader in this field.

7. Technical expertise, past experience (also in series production, if relevant) and technical facilities in the Institutes taking part in the Study;

Well qualified team, and PI is a leader in this particular area.

8. Assessment of the level of risk inherent in the design;

Risks are well understood and described in the proposal- more related to the usage and implementation aspects rather than the software itself.

9. Strength of the Scientific Team supporting the Study;

Can't comment; no info provided on co-Is, or potential staff

10. Level of support guaranteed by the Institutes;

There is full support guaranteed from the PI's institute.

11. Budgeted cost of the Study;

$186,903 over one year. Budget is relatively modest and well justified (most expense to support a staff/grad student(?) for one year.
* Reviewer 6

Grade: 7

Title: ALMA Data in One Place/Grimshaw

1. Alignment with NA ALMA Partnership strategic goals;

This is unclear. As written, the proposal focuses nearly exclusively on JAO-NAASC-UVA internal data connections, and it is unclear whether this has a large impact on partnership strategic goals.

2. Strength of the scientific case for the proposed ALMA upgrade concept; Comment on the relevance to the ‘ALMA 2030’ development documents.

This proposal would help with data transfers to the NAASC and perhaps other users.

3. Quality of the upgrade conceptual design;

Quality is medium. The proposal focuses strongly on data transport and to some extent processing in the CCC framework. How users outside the NAASC or UVA would be able to participate is unclear. Questions about data sets being modified without the user's knowledge were not addressed.

4. Readiness for production in the context of the ALMA Development Plan (the aim is to support a range of upgrades including both those which can be implemented rapidly and those requiring longer-term research and development);

Plans are appropriate.

5. Strength of the consortium organization (if applicable);

N/A

6. Qualifications of the key personnel of the Study;

Appropriate

7. Technical expertise, past experience (also in series production, if relevant) and technical facilities in the Institutes taking part in the Study;

Appropriate

8. Assessment of the level of risk inherent in the design;

Low risk as an experiment. The proposal does not specify metrics to determine whether the proposed approach is suitable for full-scale rollout, however.

9. Strength of the Scientific Team supporting the Study;

N/A

10. Level of support guaranteed by the Institutes;

Adequate

11. Budgeted cost of the Study;

Reasonable

* Reviewer 8

Proposal # 545: ALMA Data in One Place

PI: Grimshaw

This proposal concerns a study to provide enhanced software capabilities to ALMA users. It is based on the XSEDE Global Federated File System, GFFS. This file system would allow data to be securely shared among users at different sites, provide access to resources of the Campus Compute Cooperative CCC), and control who can use and access data with fine-grained controls. The proposal goals are to first see how the GFFS can help ALMA science, access how useful the system is, and deploy it at sites with model data and solicit feedback from users.

Examining GFFS, it seems that it is designed for scientific centers where different disciplines are working together with varying types of data and data formats. GFFS aims to make the scientific data “universal,” so they can be shared by all members within a multi-disciplinary team. In the case of ALMA, it’s the same data type and it is readily accessible. Applying the GFFS concept to ALMA users seems to be a bit contrived, although it might bring some benefits. As the ALMA community grows and data management becomes unwieldy, the proposed study might be useful, but it does not seem timely and necessary at this time.

Grade: 8

-- AlWootten - 2017-07-18
Topic revision: r2 - 2017-07-19, AlWootten
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