Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - CENVIS (Centre for Scientific Visualisation)

The aim of CENVIS the project was to strengthen and increase existing e-infrastructure research capabilities of the Centre of Information and Computer Science of Rudjer Boskovic Institute. The project wanted to create an internationally recognised, state-of-the-art research and education Centre for Scientific Visualisation technologies contributing at all levels of improvement of scientific R&D efficiency and knowledge. The foreseen benefits of the project are:
- immediate increase in the competency level in research and development capability of the centre; provision of the state-of-the-art research experience to some postgraduate students (equipment and environment, access to leading scientists in Europe);
- strengthening of the collaboration capability on research projects with regional (WBCs) and EU based institutions;
- ability to exchange researchers between the Centre and leading European institutions;
- provide transfer of up-to-date design technology and improves the competency of regional industries, and increased technology background to participation in Framework Programme projects.
Thus, establishing the Centres of Excellence Network in the WB region that shall be orientated to distributed parallel computing and scientific visualisation on the computer grid environment, is our important sustainability aim.

The objectives of the project were achieved by the set of SSA activities in the areas of networking, improvement of human resources, exchange of personnel, visiting researchers, and equipment acquisition, all in the framework of the centre's continuous development and integration with European leading international institutions and Centres of Excellence. By these specific support activities, the e-science technology will be introduced to the national and regional research community and purpose to transfer the centre of scientific visualisation to the regional e-science centre in the future. The contribution of e-science technologies is acknowledged on the grid platforms in the direction of new methodologies and technologies of multidisciplinary scientific-research work using numerical and visual analytics in basic technical, medical and social sciences, technological and applied scientific researches as well.

The three main objectives of CENVIS project were:
- Objective 1: securing sustainable development and operation;
- Objective 2: upgrading the existing e-infrastructure (network storage, visualisation centre, laboratory, lecture auditorium);
- Objective 3: strengthening the regional and national human network (training employed experts in e-science and promoting usage of modern e-science methodology).

Project objectives and major achievements

The INCO WBC SSA three objective that the finalisation of the project made possible is to stabilise and reinforce the Western Balkan Countries research potential trough e-science. We provided a forum for resource sharing and data exchange. Building the regional and national human network brought together a circle of researches and user communities that are interested in advancement of computer usage in scientific work on the basis of e-science technologies. Connections where made with Centres of Excellence, national and local authorities.

Major project activities and strategic decisions where discussed on steering committee meetings and project realisation meetings that where organised throughout the project. According to the analysis of objectives and activities selection, processing and selection of appropriate and optimal equipment was carried out after which, guided by the department for the procurement of RBI, it was preceded and successfully finished with the procurement. There was a delay in the implementation that caused a delay in the setting of the equipment in the new space in comparison to the dow but it was all done within the project period.

The management of RBI invested into adaptation of two rooms with a total surface area of 60 m2 (Room number 129A) for the purposes of the centre and scientific visualisation as a long term strategic technology in RBI. The rooms now present operational and system environment of the centre for scientific visualisation. New services for clients are now available and user support was further developed with request systems, application for conferencing, presentation and multimedia sharing, helpdesk, etc. Promotional material was produced in several deferent forms that included poster, movie, brochure, e-booklet, leaflet and where used in dissemination events such as workshops, presentations, lectures, etc. The risk management policy in CENVIS project identified technical, technological, commercial and juristically risks and minimised them. Lecture auditorium was improved and it made conferencing, presentation and multimedia sharing, organising events in the auditorium and equipment handling much easier and functional. Closing ascertained that the project CENVIS fulfilled all objectives and above the planned framework was successfully completed and that is secured with all technical, technological and logistical requirements for long term sustainability.

Specific support activities are implemented in work packages as follows:
- WP1 - Project management and administration: deals with the project technical and administrative management.
- WP2 - Equipment selection (validation), evaluation and acquisition: involves studies, analysis; fact finding and monitoring; acquisition of most up-to-date and most appropriate equipment for development of a modern e-science infrastructure for the RBI.
- WP3 - Equipment installation, configuration and deployment: involves proper location establishment, ergonomic installation and necessary development to integrate the e-science equipment into the RBI e-infrastructure, and, consequently, into cluster and grid structures.
- WP4 - Support for end-users: includes technological knowledge transfer for e-science users on RBI and other interested parties, including operational support and take-up of related services and activities, enabling the end-users to fully use the available emerging e-science infrastructure.
- WP5 - Dissemination and education: addresses dissemination, information and communication activities for the promotion of the project results and achievements, including general promotion of e-science principles and infrastructure usage, as well as education of the future e-science user communities, through tutorials, demonstration sessions, workshops, seminars and conferences and establishment of e-science working groups and expert groups.
- WP6 - Quality assurance: involves assessment of progress and results of the project as a whole, including potential risk monitoring and developing a risk management policy.

During the whole period the following were the project achievements per WP:

WP1 - project management structure, that was established in the first period by the use of CMS web engine, we continued to use during the second period. Management plan insured that the overall resources that were used where consistent with the work performed and that the work progress continued to so that the results of the project adhered to the contract. 14 project realisation meetings (PRM) were held (2 more than planned) in the first and eight in the second period making it possible to review tasks and activities and agree deliverables development phases. Hardware equipment purchase was postponed to the second period causing the realisation dynamics to change but it had no negative consequences on the purchase management and all the equipment was bought. Workshops, seminar and conferences where successfully organised trough the whole duration of the project.

WP2 - we evaluated the equipment available on the market, found the best quality / price / performance ratio and specified the necessary equipment components for the proper realisation of the project objectives. This specification of the exact equipment components to be purchased was produced during the first period. During the second one we managed the purchasing process.

WP3 - Host adaptation for distributed computing and visualisation equipment was handled in the first period with great outcome. Laboratory was carefully designed and now it ensures an efficient, functional and friendly environment for the young researchers at RBI. Installation of the hardware and software components was monitored and successfully finished in the second period before the end of the project.

WP4 - With results of first period help desk model for visualisation applications developers and other users analysis in the second period projects portal was upgraded with a helpdesk application and Open ticket request system (OTRS). It was filled with information on all available recourses, promotional package content, such as a poster, leaflet, e-booklet and brochure was made available for viewing, forthcoming activities, awards and carrier opportunities for young scientists and papers co-authored by researchers that worked on this project. Forum was opened making it possible for online scientific visualisation discussions and the exchange of ideas.

WP 5 - During the project we prepared and updated the next promotional package which included posters, brochures, e-booklets, flyers, leaflets, a film and an information kiosk. The project was presented in nine TV broadcasting scientific programs, three seminars, three workshops, four publications, four presentations and on the internet through the projects portal, on IRB open days and during visits, on trainings and lectures.

WP 6 - As mentioned before, quality assurance developed assessment of progress and results of the project as a whole therefore the risk was minimised at the earliest possible stage of the project realisation lifecycle.

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