Data movement beyond the networks – Technology Org


Computer scientist Dr. Jennifer Schopf has joined the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) leadership team at The University of Texas at Austin as Director of Networking Partnerships.

Jennifer Schopf joins TACC's leadership team as Director of Networking Partnerships. Pictured is one of six network core switches on the Frontera supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, which route communication between the server nodes.

Jennifer Schopf joins TACC’s leadership team as Director of Networking Partnerships. Pictured is one of six network core switches on the Frontera supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, which route communication between the server nodes. Image credit: TACC

Schopf has extensive experience working with a broad set of research teams to improve data transfer times and significant measurement and monitoring experience for domestic and international networks. With her joining, TACC expanded its support for researchers using high-performance computing (HPC) into broader horizons of distributed cyberinfrastructure.

TACC Executive Director Dan Stanzione said, “Jennifer and her group add tremendous new capabilities to our team here at TACC. Our extensive expertise in working with users end-to-end from remote sites to fully use sites like TACC will continue to expand our reach. Jennifer will be working with organizations such as the Lonestar Education and Research Network (LEARN), and the UT System Office of Telecommunications Services (OTS) to find new opportunities to bring in smaller schools and other places and improve their networking to us.”

“She’s had strong relationships throughout the HPC community and the NSF,” Stanzione added. “We’re very excited to have her here.”

Schopf spent nine years at Indiana University (IU) where she directed the Engagement and Performance Operations Center (EPOC), a collaboration funded by a $3.5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that includes IU, TACC, and the Energy Sciences Network of the U.S. Department of Energy. EPOC will be moving to TACC along with Schopf and several of the EPOC staff, where they will continue focusing on end-to-end performance across networks for various cyberinfrastructure-type workflows.

“The priority placed on helping researchers make a difference in their fields was part of what attracted me to TACC,” Schopf said.

“EPOC by nature goes beyond the networks to the end points, the software, and the sociology of the application that can define the workflow for many non-technical reasons,” she said.

Much of the work EPOC does is with small and medium-sized institutions, helping them understand the cyberinfrastructure landscape both locally and what’s available to them more broadly. For example, EPOC has conducted virtual Deep Dives to enhance cyberinfrastructure workflows with LEARN and some of the member institutions they support.

“I intend to make sure that more institutions know about the resources TACC has to offer in the national cyberinfrastructure ecosystem, and how TACC helps advance science and research,” Schopf said.

“One of the other reasons TACC is a great home for EPOC is their data resources,” she added, citing the quick work by EPOC, TACC, and other organizations to move data from the collapsed Arecibo radio telescope to TACC’s Ranch, its long-term data mass storage system, in April 2021.

Research data sets grow over time, and many have reached a difficult point in maintaining them. “TACC offers a valuable resource to applications with decades of legacy data, like we did for Arecibo,” Schopf said.

Another project she will bring to TACC is implementing the NetSage network measurement and monitoring project, and specifically funding to support its use for the resources of the NSF-funded Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Coordination Ecosystem: Services & Support (ACCESS) Track 4.

“It’s a great opportunity to work more closely with ACCESS resources and expand their cyberinfrastructure footprint. If we can speed up how data transfers work, we speed up time to science,” Schopf said.

Her experience in international networking includes serving as principal investigator (PI) for the NSF-funded Networks for European, American, African, and Arctic Research (NEA3R) initiative, which connects scientists via two high-speed networks to Europe. She was also PI for the NSF-funded TransPAC5, which connects scientists in Asia and the U.S. via high speed networks.

“The international work has now gone beyond just simple circuits to higher-level services. I’m hoping over the next few years to work with TACC’s contacts in Mexico and Central America to build a collaboration to address these needs,” Schopf said.

Prior to IU, Schopf was an NSF program officer who helped develop pragmatic networking solicitations, as well as supported several data and cyberinfrastructure solicitations. She was also part of the EarthCube program, and initiatives for international networks, distributed systems, and pragmatic software. In addition, she was a scientist in the mathematics and computer science division at Argonne National Laboratory.

Source: University of Texas at Arlington


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