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Blog Posts

  • Blog post: Register Now for 2nd NSF-Sponsored Broadening the Reach Workshop created by
    Mar 26
  • Blog post: NAE Elects New Members for 2014 created by
    Mar 25
  • Blog post: Merit SELinux Class at a Discount created by
    Mar 21
  • Blog post: GPN perfSonar Capabilities created by
    Feb 28
  • Blog post: Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Research and Educational Facilitation -- Campus Based Computational Research Support created by
    Feb 28
  • Blog post: OCCAM'S READER -- A Software Triumph for GWLA created by
    Feb 21
  • Blog post: Annual Meeting 2014 Moves to InterContinental Hotel in Kansas City created by
    Feb 21
  • Blog post: 2014 Open Access Meeting in Kansas City created by
    Jan 30
  • Blog post: GlobusWorld2014 - What you should know! created by
    Jan 30
  • Blog post: Spring 2014 Professional Development Speakers Announced created by
    Jan 30
  • Blog post: NSF Campus Cyberinfrastructure Webinar Slides created by
    Jan 29
  • Blog post: Advanced Clustering Technology Free eQUEUE Webinair created by
    Jan 23
  • Blog post: Another Chance for Merit Classes created by
    Jan 21
  • Blog post: Campus Cyberinfrastructure Proposal Development Workshop February 18 to 19 in KCMO created by
    Jan 17
  • Blog post: Brief Report from NCSA created by
    Jan 17
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    Register Now for 2nd NSF-Sponsored Broadening the Reach Workshop
    Last Changed by Greg Monaco, Mar 26, 2014 10:17

    The first Broadening the Reach Workshop, funded by the National Science Foundation, was held in Kansas City, MO, in February to assist campuses in preparing proposals for NSF's CC-IIE solicitation.  The next workshop will be held at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on May 6 and 7, 2014. 

    Broadening the Reach: A Cyberinfrastructure Program for Non-Research-Intensive and EPSCoR Institutions is an NSF-funded Internet2 project aimed at supporting the enhancement of campus network infrastructure and external connectivity of small colleges and universities, including but not limited to those in EPSCoR states, having notable research projects, even though the institution may not be primarily research-focused. The program will offer two forms of support: workshops focused on campus infrastructures and external connectivity to support research and teaching, and campus visits by consulting specialists to assist with technical implementation.

    The workshop will consist of 1-1/2 days of presentations divided into two parts. The first part will focus on information covering technical, organizational, and administrative aspects of upgrading and integrating cyberinfrastructure into the campus environment in support of campus based research and teaching activities. The second part of the workshop will include topics that address the form and content of infrastructure proposals to the NSF and the identification of research drivers within the campus environment, with the goal of enabling institutions to respond competitively to NSF infrastructure opportunities, such as the current CC*IIE solicitation.

    You can learn more about this project, here:

    You can register for this free workshop, here:

    Posted at Mar 26, 2014 by Greg Monaco 0 Comments
    NAE Elects New Members for 2014
    Last Changed by Greg Monaco, Mar 25, 2014 12:32

    The National Academy of Engineering recently announced the election of 67 Members and 11 Foreign Associates (

    There was one individual elected from the GPN region:

    • Mohan, Ned:  Oscar A. Schott Professor of Power Electronics and Systems, department of electrical and computer engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.  For contributions to the integration of electronics into power systems and to innovations in power engineering education.


    Posted at Mar 25, 2014 by Greg Monaco 0 Comments
    Merit SELinux Class at a Discount
    Last Changed by Kate Adams, Mar 21, 2014 09:11

    GPN members get a discount on Merit's Hands-on SELinux: A Practical Introduction.  This class is offered April 22 & 24th from 5:00-8:00 pm CDT.  GPN members pay $299 per person (regular price is $349). 

    This class is online, so you can attend from anywhere. This short course is designed as an intensive, hands-on introduction to Red Hat SELinux, a technology that adds mandatory access controls to the Linux kernel and can stop buffer overflow and other malicious attacks. The focus will be on understanding the SELinux theory, components, installation, configuration and log records, and how to secure applications both by configuring existing SELinux policies and by creating new policies. You'll come away from this course with the SELinux skills to secure your platform running your own applications. 

    This course is a hands-on experience with demonstration, student labs and a focus on understanding the function of SELinux policies. It is valuable for system administrators, advanced Linux users and others who need expertise in SELinux. The course can serve as a primer for a novice or a refresher for experienced SELinux users. 

    Posted at Mar 21, 2014 by Kate Adams 0 Comments
    GPN perfSonar Capabilities
    Last Changed by Greg Monaco, Feb 28, 2014 12:11

    The GPN perfSonar instance is once again up and running thanks to the efforts of the GPN Network Operations Center and, in particular, PJ Clayton.  We can now test at 10 gigabits per second between sites, thanks to an upgrade of the hardware.

    Tests are currently run between the gigaPoP in KCMO and

    • Internet2 in Kansas City
    • Internet2 in Chicago
    • OneNet
    • OU Norman
    • MOREnet
    • ESnet in KCMO
    • KanREN
    • Northern Lights GigaPoP

    The Benefits of perfSonar Tests

    Suppose that you are having trouble moving data between your campus and San Diego Supercomputing Center.  There are many potential points of failure:

    • Between your computer, on campus, and the edge of your campus,
    • Between your campus and your state network,
    • Between your state network and the GPN gigaPoP,
    • Between GPN and Internet2,
    • Between points on the Internet2 backbone,
    • and so forth to SDSC.

    PerfSonar tests between points can help you to narrow down and identify where there is a network performance bottleneck.  The finer grained we can get the analysis across our network, the quicker we can  identify and resolve traffic performance issues. 

    Next Steps

    The next step is to complete a GPN Monitoring and Debugging Dashboard (MaDDash) website that will display current status between points across the GPN network (there is an example of a MaDDash site at

    If you would like us to test between GPN and your site, please let us know!  You need to have a perfSonar box at your site.

    Posted at Feb 28, 2014 by Greg Monaco 0 Comments
    Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Research and Educational Facilitation -- Campus Based Computational Research Support
    Last Changed by Greg Monaco, Feb 28, 2014 11:23

    The National Science Foundation announced an award to Clemson University for the Advanced Cyberinfrastructure - Research and Educational Facilitation: Campus-Based Computational Research Support project (formerly known as Condo of Condos).

    The project is a consortium that brings together education and research institutions that are committed to the vision of advancing scientific discovery through a national network of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (ACI) Research and Education Facilitators (ACI-REFs). Working together in a coordinated effort, the consortium is dedicated to the adoption of models and strategies to leverage the expertise and experiences of its members to maximize the impact of investment in research computing. Located on the campuses and fully embedded in their local environment, the mission of the ACI-REFs will be to extend the reach and impact of campus and national research computing infrastructure on the science conducted by students and faculty.

    Led by Clemson CIO Jim Bottum as principal investigator, Barr von Oehsen will serve as the science and outreach lead, Jim Pepin will act as the technical integration lead, and Simon Appleford and Dustin Atkins will also serve on the project team at Clemson.  The project’s collaborating institutions include the University of Hawaii, the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the University of Wisconsin, and Harvard University.

    In addition to the project team led by Mr. Bottum, the project’s steering committee includes Glenn Ricart, Chief Technology Officer of the US Ignite Project, Greg Monaco from the Great Plains Network, and John Towns, the principal investigator of the NSF-funded XSEDE program.  Miron Livny of the University of Wisconsin and principal investigator of the NSF-funded Open Science Grid will also serve on the project’s steering committee as well as the Chief Scientist for the project.

    Posted at Feb 28, 2014 by Greg Monaco 0 Comments
    OCCAM'S READER -- A Software Triumph for GWLA
    Last Changed by Greg Monaco, Feb 26, 2014 16:19

    Cheers to our colleagues at the Greater Western Library Alliance!  As pointed out in a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher ED (, they saw a need and they delivered.  The need was a way for libraries to share e-books while keeping publishers happy.  The solution is software developed by members at Texas Tech and the University of Hawaii - Manoa, called Occam's Reader.

    I am impressed by the fact that GWLA members identified a difficult problem and, then, went ahead and solved that problem without waiting to be funded, first.  They took it on as a community project and accomplished it!

    I am sure we will hear more about this at the Annual Meeting 2014:

    Posted at Feb 21, 2014 by Greg Monaco 0 Comments
    Annual Meeting 2014 Moves to InterContinental Hotel in Kansas City
    Last Changed by Greg Monaco, Feb 21, 2014 11:41

    We are pleased to announce that the Annual Meeting 2014 will be held at the lovely InterContinental Hotel near the Country Club Plaza on May 28, 29 and 30.

    The Intercontinental Kansas City - Plaza in Kansas City, MO, offers an intimate, comfortable, and collegial setting for this year’s Annual Meeting and also offers attractions that bring members to KC from all over the Midwest.

    Note: There will be a BIG DATA SUMMIT II on Wednesday, May 28!

    Learn more, here:

    This Year's Theme

    This year's them is Surviving the Data Deluge: Computation, Storage, Networks and People.

    The Annual Meeting brings together knowledge and information technology professionals including advanced network and cyberinfrastructure users, faculty members, researchers, librarians, information technology staff and graduate students from leading universities, and higher education networks.

    Highlights for 2014

    • Spacious New Venue: The InterContinental Hotel, Kansas City Plaza
    • Big Data Summit II (Wednesday, May 28)
    • Opening Exhibitor Preview on Wednesday Evening (May 28)
    • Gala Poolside Reception on Thursday Evening (May 29)
    • Expanded No-Conflict Time with Exhibitors

    Back by Popular Demand

    • Panel Sessions
    • Birds of a Feather Sessions on Emerging Topics of Interest
    • Poster Session
    • CIO Forum

    Who should attend?

    • Great Plains Network members (check here)
    • Greater Western Library Alliance members (check here)
    • University and corporate non-members who are interested in advanced cyberinfrastructure, network technology, high performance computing, data stewardship, curation and/or advancing education and training in advanced technologies.
    • Anyone who is interested in joining the Great Plains Network or the Greater Western Library Alliance

    Registration, Paper Submission, Sponsorship Opportunities

    You may register for the annual meeting, here:

    You may submit a paper, panel, poster presentation or idea for a Birds of a Feather session, here:

    Sponsors may learn more about exhibit opportunities, here:

    Posted at Feb 21, 2014 by Greg Monaco 0 Comments
    2014 Open Access Meeting in Kansas City
    Last Changed by Greg Monaco, Jan 30, 2014 13:43

    The SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) 2014 Open Access Meeting will be held in Kansas City in March (March 2 to March 4).  I attended the meeting in 2012, thoroughly enjoyed it and learned quite a bit. 

    Heather Joseph, a keynote speaker at the GPN Annual Meeting in 2012, is the Executive Director of SPARC.

    The theme for the 2014 meeting is Convergence

    You can find the list of speakers at

    Learn more at

    Posted at Jan 30, 2014 by Greg Monaco 0 Comments
    GlobusWorld2014 - What you should know!
    Last Changed by Greg Monaco, Jan 30, 2014 13:25

    An announcement for the upcoming GlobusWorld2014 Annual Meeting outside of Chicago, Illinois, has been circulating the past couple of days.  It will be held on April 15, 16, 17.

    I have covered Globus Online elsewhere on the website (search Globus in the box on the right panel).  This is an opportunity to go into depth on utilizing the tool.  I also see that there is something new called Globus Genomics.

    I asked Laurel Wamsley of the Globus team for some additional information about the meeting that is not readily available at the website.  Here's what Laurel let me know:

    The target audience for GlobusWorld is HPC administrators, research scientists, and developers. The first day, April 15, is all tutorials (followed by a cocktail and poster reception), so its great for folks wanting to get Globus up and running on their campus, or to push their usage of Globus further, with APIs, advanced scripting and endpoint configuration, etc. This page shows last year’s tutorials and presentations:  This years programming will give attendees all the guidance they need to get a campus data service set up on their campus or lab.

    Videos from last years GlobusWorld are available on our YouTube channel:

    This year we are adding genomics and biosciences programming, which I know was a topic of interest to a lot of folks at the GPN conference. Both the Globus transfer service and Globus Genomics can be very useful to people wading into genomics data, so theyll be interested in those presentationsand getting a chance to talk to our Globus Genomics staff, who have a lot of expertise on managing genomics data.Here’s a bit more info on the schedule: 

    Day 1 (April 15): Tutorials for both beginning and advanced users, followed by a cocktail and poster session

    Day 2 (April 16): Presentations and keynotes in the morning and afternoon, followed by a dinner reception in Chicago (last year’s was at the Adler Planetarium---we’re finalizing this year’s location)

    Day 3 (April 17): Presentations, including a block on Biosciences and Genomics

    You can learn more about the upcoming meeting by following the links, below: 

    April 15-17, 2014 at Argonne National Laboratory, outside Chicago, IL

    Register for GlobusWorld

    Call for Proposals and Posters


    Posted at Jan 30, 2014 by Greg Monaco 0 Comments
    Spring 2014 Professional Development Speakers Announced
    Last Changed by Greg Monaco, Jan 31, 2014 11:08

    The Great Plains Network (GPN) is very pleased to announce the first three speakers for the Spring 2014 web-based Professional Development Program:

    • Friday, February 14 at 10AM Central, Jason Zurawski will give a presentation called A Brief Overview of the Science DMZ. This talk will review the Science DMZ design pattern and how it would relate to campuses that have CC-NIE money, or those that may be looking to upgrade network infrastructure. 
    • Friday, February 21 at 10AM Central,  Greg Wilson will talk about Software Carpentry: Lessons Learned. Over the last 15 years, Software Carpentry has evolved from a week-long training course at the US national laboratories into a worldwide volunteer effort to raise standards in scientific computing. This talk explains what they have learned along the way, the challenges they now face, and plans for the future.
    • Friday, February 28 at 10AM Central, Gavin Burris will talk about HPC Clusters in the Cloud.  He will talk about financial implications and why it is sometimes better to use  local compute resources instead of the Amazon cloud, and vice versa.  He will also talk about spot pricing on Amazon and using the StarCluster script. Gavin Burris works ast the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School.

    There will be one other presentation this spring  to be announced at a later date.
    The GPN Professional Development Program was instituted in the Fall of 2011 to bring high quality, one-hour web-based presentations on timely developments in advanced cyberinfrastructure, information technology and networking to members of the higher education community, including researchers, faculty and staff.  The presentations are free, open to the entire higher education community and are intended to foster a shared understanding of new technologies and facilitate the adoption of game-changing CI across the region.  The website where the presentations take place is

    More information about how to virtually attend each program, speaker biographies, intended audience and recordings from past Professional Development Programs may be found at
    GPN also maintains a calendar of network and cyberinfrastructure training at the web site (

    To receive notifications about GPN please contact Kate Adams via email (

    About GPN

    The Great Plains Network (GPN) is dedicated to supporting research and education through the use of advanced networking technology and cyberinfrastructure. GPN membership includes universities in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.
    Primary Contact Information

    Kate Adams

    Great Plains Network

    Posted at Jan 30, 2014 by Kate Adams 0 Comments
    NSF Campus Cyberinfrastructure Webinar Slides
    Last Changed by Greg Monaco, Jan 29, 2014 15:46

    On January 24, there was an NSF webinar on the CC-IIE solicitation that I have written about, elsewhere (see below).

    You can find the slides from that NSF presentation, here:

    Some interesting points from the presentation:

    • Except for program area #6 (regional coordination), proposal submission is limited to universities and colleges, including community colleges;
    • Estimated number of awards is 20 to 35;
    • $18 to $20 million in funding for FY2014;
    • Campus CI plans are required: There are example CI plans from existing awardees at

    About the CC-IIE Program

    Posted at Jan 29, 2014 by Greg Monaco 0 Comments
    Advanced Clustering Technology Free eQUEUE Webinair
    Last Changed by Kate Adams, Jan 23, 2014 11:14

    ACT (Advanced Clustering Technology) is offering a free webinair on their new software, eQUEUE.  eQUEUE was announced at SC13.  ACT created eQUEUE to make clustering easy for admins and users with the ultimate goal to bring more people to HPC. 

    The webinair is free and open to everyone.  It is Tuesday, January 28, 2014, from1pm to 2pm CST.

    The link for the webinair is  With the id gpn

    Posted at Jan 23, 2014 by Kate Adams 0 Comments
    Another Chance for Merit Classes
    Last Changed by Kate Adams, Jan 21, 2014 14:38

    GPN is pleased to announce a discount for our members on two popular Merit classes.  Both of these are online and can be attended from anywhere.

    Certified Information Systems Security Officer (CISSO)
    February 24-28
    More info and registration:
    Cost: $2700 (a $300 discount)

    Certified Penetration Testing Engineer (CPTE)
    March 24-28

    More info and registration:
    Cost: $2700 (a $300 discount)

    Posted at Jan 21, 2014 by Kate Adams 0 Comments
    Campus Cyberinfrastructure Proposal Development Workshop February 18 to 19 in KCMO
    Last Changed by Greg Monaco, Jan 21, 2014 07:23

    Note:  1/17/14  Added hotel reservation link, below.   1/21/14 Added registration website, below.

    CC-IIE (Campus Cyberinfrastructure:  Infrastructure, Innovation and Engineering) is an NSF award program aimed at funding improved campus infrastructure, notably networking, for all sizes of colleges and universities.

    Internet2 will be conducting a proposal development workshop for NSF's CC-IIE competition on February 18 and 19, 2014, in Kansas City, Missouri, near the airport Hilton.  Mark your calendars!

    This is an excellent opportunity to win funding to improve networking in our region.

    Registration for the workshop is free!

    GPN is willing to help you with your proposal and project summary development (see Additional GPN Assistance, below).

    About CC-IIE

    As noted above, CC-IIE (Campus Cyberinfrastructure:  Infrastructure, Innovation and Engineering) is an NSF award program aimed at funding improved campus infrastructure, notably networking, for all sizes of colleges and universities.  

    Award size is between $350,000 and $500,000 for smaller and larger institutions, respectively, for up to 2 years.

    I have written about this solicitation, elsewhere:

    The full solicitation is available at

    Proposal deadline is March 17, 2014.  I encourage you to attend this workshop with a pretty good idea of what you would like to propose.

    I suggest that you have at least a one page summary drafted and bring it to the workshop for maximum impact.  See below if you would like assistance in drafting a summary. 

    Tentative Workshop Agenda

    The workshop is scheduled to begin of Tuesday, February 18, and conclude on Wednesday, February 19.

    Day 1
    8:00 – 9:00 Introduction and Background
    9:00 – 10:15 Campus Infrastructure I – Network Design Principles
    10:15- 10:30  Break
    10:30 – 12:00 Campus Infrastructure II – Network Performance and Tools
    12:00 – 13:30 Lunch
    13:30 - 14:15 Campus Infrastructure III – Federation and Authentication
    14:15 - 15:00 Campus Infrastructure Q&A
    15:00 – 15:15 Break
    15:30 – 17:00 Support For Researchers
    17:30 – 18:30 Reception
    18:30 -- Dinner on your own

    Day 2
     8:00 - 10:00 Proposal Writing  I
    10:00 – 10:15 Break
    10:15 – 11:00 Proposal Writing II
    11:00 – 11:30 Proposal Writing Q&A
    11:30 - 12:00  Next Steps and Wrap up
    12:00 Adjourn

    Workshop Registration

    Register at

    Hotel Registration

    There are a block of rooms available for arrival on February 17 (Monday) at

    Hilton Kansas City Airport

    8801 NW 112th Street, Kansas City, MO 64153

    Rooms - $99 Regular/ $109 King (price includes free wifi in guest rooms and shuttle service to the Zona Rosa neighborhood and the airport)

    Please use this link – to reserve your hotel room for the Broadening the Reach Workshop.  Please note that the King Deluxe rooms are gone so one will have to settle for a King room.  If you have any questions, please let me know.

    Additional GPN and Internet2 Assistance

    GPN and Internet2 are interested in helping you with letters of support.  

    I am interested in helping you to prepare your proposal and am willing to do any of the following:

    • discuss your ideas by phone or email;
    • help you to write a draft summary of your project;
    • read your project summary and/or proposal and make recommendations.

    I can also recommend others to read over your proposal and make comments.  We have several campuses that have already won this type of award.

    Contact me at greg at greatplains dot net if you are interested in assistance with your project.

    Posted at Jan 17, 2014 by Greg Monaco 0 Comments
    Brief Report from NCSA
    Last Changed by Kate Adams, Jan 17, 2014 10:01

    Thursday and today (Jan 16-17) I attended  Advancing Research Computing on Campuses: Best Practices Workshop at NCSA.  NCSA is located on the University of Illinois in Urbana, IL

    There were a few themes that kept coming up in talks.

    • Researchers have a general distrust of central IT.
    • Technical problems are easy to solve, political problems are difficult.
    • Research computing is becoming more and more centralized.  This is not the same "centralized" as central IT.  Some examples of IT conglomerations on campuses are administrative (payroll), academic, research, and library.
    • Network engineers want the network to handle research traffic while at the same time handling general traffic and upholding campus policies.
    • Exploring different funding models.  Getting money from one grant is no longer the norm.  Sometimes
      • money is taken from several grants
      • the university gives a small amount for many different grants automatically
      • Every few years, the center gets "one time money"
      • the HPC center rents out cycle time
      • the data center has a condo model.  The researchers own the machines, but the research computing center sets up, installs, maintains, and runs them.  At some universities, the researchers get the option of keeping the machines at the end of their data center life.  (A pallet of machines is dropped off at their lab one day.)  
    • Clusters had a longer life span when there were in a data center than in a lab. 
    • People like to see and touch their equipment.
    • Sharing CPU is easy compared to sharing storage.  There are no built-in mechanism to ask the system for storage.  Running out of storage is a huge problem right now.

    John Town gave his vision of research for the future.  Instead of a physics, chemistry, genomics, computer science, or networking problem, there are only "complex problems."  He sees degrees awarded for solving these complex problems, too.

    Next year's Advancing Research Computing on Campuses: Best Practices Workshop will be Feb 17-19 at Clemson University in South Carolina.

    Posted at Jan 17, 2014 by Kate Adams 0 Comments
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