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    Wednesday July 18, 2012 10:00am - 10:30am @ Burnham 8th Floor

    EOT:Cloud-enabling Biological Simulations for Scalable and Sustainable Access: An Experience Report

    Abstract: We present our experiences with cloud-enabling an evolutionary genetics learning environment for achieving sustainability and scalability. The project called Pop!World features three major levels: (i) the Gateway module for catering to K-12 students, (ii) the Discovery module for undergraduates and (ii) the Research module for advanced learners and researchers. The Discovery module of Pop!World is currently in use in the introductory Biological Sciences course at UB (BIO 200). The project that began as a design and development of prototype tool for learning and teaching soon faced two major issues: scalability and sustainability. Scalability in our case is about the ability to service thousands of users at a fairly reasonable quality of service. Sustainability is about accessibility and availability beyond the classroom. Learners are often introduced to useful tools and environments during their enrollment in a course. Yet, continued access to the tools beyond the duration of the course is critical for sustaining the learning that happened during the course and to enable experimentation, discovery and application of the knowledge they acquired. Therefore, we used cloud cyber-infrastructure to address successfully the dual issues of scalability and sustainability. In this paper we discuss the details of the cloud deployment of Pop!World and our experiences in using it in an educational setting. The tool is currently deployed on Google App Engine (GAE).

    Significance to XSEDE: We expect the learning model we have developed for Evolutionary Biology simulations can be transformed to disseminate capabilities of XSEDE and to serve as an educational and training model for XSEDE.



    Type Education Outreach and Training Track

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