JASMIN is a large and multi-faceted research facility that continues to grow in response to demand from growing numbers of users from a wide range of academic communities. Helping users get the most out of JASMIN is an important part of our remit. Here we highlight four different activities that have been undertaken by the JASMIN team in 2020.
JASMIN users have a range of software requirements, from very basic python scripts through to full-blown data analysis packages. We have developed Jaspy, a software toolkit for managing and installing python and non-python packages on JASMIN. This toolkit provides software environments of common packages on the scientific analysis servers and LOTUS cluster. This allows users to use multiple environments simultaneously, which is particularly useful for researchers undertaking long-running studies that require a consistent software environment.
The operating system used across the many hundreds of servers in JASMIN was approaching end-of-life (November 2020). It was essential to move to a new operating system - called CentOS7 - however, this involved moving; servers used to provide user access to JASMIN, servers enabling users to work interactively (sci), servers used to host web-based services, LOTUS batch processing cluster and many more! With careful planning and communication, the switch was completed whilst minimizing disruption to users. JASMIN user documentation was updated to refer to the new resources, alongside new training materials developed to support users.
Jupyter Notebooks has seen a rise in popularity amongst the research community, for sharing code and data and performing data visualisation. The new JASMIN Notebook service provides access to Jupyter Notebooks in the web browser, allowing users to produce visualisations and interact with them in a much faster feedback loop than was previously possible. The JASMIN Notebook service grants direct access to the CEDA Archive and Group Workspaces providing a collaborative environment enabling research and training materials.
Spending time delivering workshops, webinars and training to our users is an essential part of the work we do. We believe well-trained users will put less pressure on the helpdesk team and spend less time on ‘getting started’ tasks. Ultimately meaning users can spend more time doing their science and will be less likely to inadvertently ‘break’ the services due to inexperience. We have developed a hands-on interactive training event that consists of scenario-based exercises that encourage good practice for using JASMIN. Workshop participants learn how to use JASMIN efficiently to suit their individual workflows.
As JASMIN’s demand continues to grow we will endeavour to continue improving and updating our provision of training opportunities in order to best support our user community.
All of the work in this article is covered in more detail in our latest Annual Report (19-20), find it here.