SURF participates in various Dutch platforms and research projects in the field of ICT. One of the objectives of SURF in this area is to stimulate the development of innovative ICT services for the benefit of Dutch researchers.
Netherlands eScience Center
The Netherlands eScience Center is the national hub for the development and application of domain overarching software and methods for the scientific community. NLeSC is a joint initiative of the Dutch national research council (NWO) and the Dutch organisation for ICT in education and research (SURF).
Nikhef is the National Institute for Subatomic Physics. The institute conducts research on the smallest building blocks of matter and the forces that act between these building blocks. SURFsara provides the grid infrastructure together with Nikhef and Groningen University. Together SURFsara and Nikhef also constitute the Tier-1 location for the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.
RUG-CIT is the Centre for Information Technology (CIT) at Groningen University. RUG-CIT is a pre-eminent centre of expertise in the field of ICT. As part of the national e-infrastructure, RUG-CIT provides the Grid service to researchers in the Netherlands, together with Nikhef and SURFsara.
The European Persistent Identifier Consortium (EPIC) is a joint initiative of CSC, Helsinki's IT Center for Science Ltd., GWDG (Gesellschaft für wissenschaftliche Datenverarbeitung mbH Göttingen) and SURFsara. Together with EPIC, SURFsara offers researchers the use of persistent identifiers (PIDs). PIDs make it possible to assign unique codes to data files so that data is and remains findable – even if the storage location or physical form have been altered.
The primary task of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is financing scientific research at public Dutch research institutions, particularly universities. This includes financing research conducted on the national supercomputer Cartesius and the RCCS cluster. SURFsara and NWO facilitate the assignment of computing cycles on these systems.
Platforms and consortia
SURF is a partner in the following alliances and platforms related to research-supporting ICT:
DTL (Dutch Tech Centre for Life Sciences) is a national platform of institutions working in the life sciences field. DTL aims to achieve a world-class research infrastructure. This infrastructure is intended to secure a permanent position for the Netherlands at the forefront of research and innovation in the area of the life sciences. SURFsara is a founding member of DTL.
Nederland ICT is the professional branch organisation of over 550 ICT businesses in the Netherlands. Nederland ICT utilises all expertise and knowledge at its disposal in order to offer its members the best professional opportunities and the highest level of service. SURFsara is a member of Nederland ICT.
Research Data Netherlands (RDNL) is a collaboration between 3TU.Datacentrum, Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) and SURFsara. In this coalition, which welcomes participation from other parties, the three data archives pool their resources on the topic of sustainable data archiving. With its expertise in the field of nationwide computing and data services, SURFsara complements both partners' areas of focus: the science and technology aspects at 3TU and the social sciences and humanities offered by DANS.
Big Data Alliance
Big Data Alliance is an alliance between partners in academia and industry that collaborate in the areas of Big Data & Business Analytics by exchanging knowledge, establishing training programmes or starting a business.
Since its inception, SURFsara has been collaborating with research institutions to implement innovative ICT solutions for research and/or to innovate the ICT services for these institutions. Examples of this collaboration are:
BBMRI is the Dutch Biobanking and Biomolecular Research Infrastructure project. The project aims at uniting all relevant biomedical research infrastructures into one streamlined, efficient body of research infrastructure.
The goal of the TraIT-project (continued within BBMRI-project) is to build a sustainable infrastructure for biomedical research. The project focuses primarily on the challenges resulting from the enormous data sets produced by this kind of research. SURFsara provides both recommendations on e-infrastructure and computing and data services for this project in order to support the research.
LOFAR (Low-Frequency Array ofwel 'lage-frequentie telescoop') is a radio telescope composed of thousands of radio antennas. The combined receivers result in an extremely wide range of measurement for radio signals from space. The data produced by LOFAR is stored in the LOFAR Long Time Archive, a multi-tiered storage archive with Tier 1 locations in Groningen, Amsterdam (SURFsara) and Jülich, Germany. SURFsara uses the grid infrastructure for the storage and processing of the LOFAR data.
The Nederlandse Federatie van Universitair Medische Centra (NFU) represents eight cooperating UMCs in the Netherlands. Founded in 2004, the NFU is a spin-off of the University Hospitals Association (Vereniging Academische Ziekenhuizen), or VAZ. SURFsara is a participant in the NFU Data4lifesciences project, which focuses on a shared and harmonised ICT infrastructure for biomedical research. This vision involves not only technological facilities such as hardware and software, but quality assurance processes and expertise among researchers and administrators as well.
Collaboration with suppliers
Bull (now part of ATOS) is SURFsara's current supplier for the national supercomputer Cartesius. SURFsara and Bull share various areas of collaboration. The agreement between Bull and SURFsara stipulates the on-demand expansion of Cartesius whenever new technology becomes available, or when the computing needs of researchers increase. The accelerator portion of Cartesius is an example, as is the January 2015 expansion to include the latest Intel processors. Through their collaboration SURFsara and Bull are contributing to making supercomputer services more sustainable.
Bossers & Cnossen
Bossers & Cnossen is delivering the computing and storage equipment used by Nikhef, SURFnet and SURFsara, including the necessary licences, (administrator) software, and related maintenance and services. The parties signed a framework agreement on 30 September 2016.