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New Blue Waters Webinars Announced

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications' (NCSA) Blue Waters project is pleased to announce three new webinar topics to launch 2019, focused on the cloud, open-source software, and scientific 3D visualization.

Over the next month, we will offer the following webinars:

The webinars are free to attend and open to the public. Registration is recommended to receive reminders of webinar dates and to receive invitations to join the Slack channel to pose questions to the presenters.


Enis Afgan, Research Scientist, Johns Hopkins University

The popularity of Galaxy is calling for extensive compute and storage capacity to be made available. The Galaxy Project and the community at large have been making strides in this effort by creating a variety of resources available. These include free public servers, virtual machines, cloud instances, usegalaxy.* federation, container images, etc. However, such dedicated installations of Galaxy instances is gradually leading to many silos of data, shared objects, tools, and expertise. In order to further strengthen the community and help build on each other's contributions, we are actively working on the notion of resource federation for Galaxy. This means that it will be possible to bring together disparate data and compute resources to effectively handle large data and long computations. In this talk, we will present the motivation for the above problem, the ongoing efforts, and present a method for dynamically linking external compute resources from a variety of cloud resources to a Galaxy server. Much of the presented software stack and services are not specific to Galaxy and can also be used by other science gateways.


Prentice Bisbal, Lead Software Engineer, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

High-performance computing training and education typically emphasize the first-principles of scientific programming, such as numerical algorithms and parallel programming techniques. However, many computational scientists need to know how to compile and link to applications built by others. Likewise, those who create the libraries and applications need to understand how to package their code it so that it is straightforward for others to use. These topics are not currently addressed by the current HPC education or training curriculum and users are left to learn these skills on their own. In this webinar, Bisbal will summarize observations on the most common difficulties computational scientists encounter when trying to build and install open-source software themselves, and provide a curriculum designed to address these issues. Common deficiencies found in the packaging of open-source scientific packages will also be discussed, along with some suggestions for correcting them.


Brian R. Kent, Scientist, National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Scientific data can take on many forms—catalogs, data cubes, images, and simulations. The software program Blender gives scientists a useful tool for displaying data in a manner used by three-dimensional (3D) graphics specialists and animators. The interface to this popular software package is introduced with attention to features of interest in a researcher's data.


The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides supercomputing and advanced digital resources for the nation's science enterprise. At NCSA, University of Illinois faculty, staff, students, and collaborators from around the globe use advanced digital resources to address research grand challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been advancing one third of the Fortune 50® for more than 30 years by bringing industry, researchers, and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.


To foster productive discussions during the live webcasts, participants are encouraged to use dedicated channels within the ncsa-bw Slack teamand via YouTube to pose questions to the presenters as well as share information with other participants.

The video recordings of each webinar are made publicly available on YouTube, and PDFs of the slides are made available for download. Links to the YouTube videos and slides are posted at

We welcome offers to present additional topics, as well as suggestions for additional topics. Please email your comments to

This seminar series is organized and supported by the Blue Waters project.