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Running Taverna 1 Workflows on NGS resources

Recently Research Computing Services demonstrated how one might set up a user friendly mechanism to enact Taverna workflows on NGS compute resources.

NGS resources are accessible and secured via internationally agreed grid protocols. In some cases, however, user communities require quick and simple access mechanisms which are at odds with the complexities of these middle grid layers. The pressure on service providers to keep up the secure interfaces is often conflicts with the requirements of the user communities to make access easy and we have to hide away unnecessary complexities in order to facilitate them. This exercise was one such demonstration.

Taverna is a Workflow Management System whose primary mode of use is via a Graphical User Interface (GUI) to an underlying workflow enaction engine. This allows users to express and manage their scientific process as a workflow. "Effectively, Taverna allows a scientist with limited computing background and limited technical resources and support to construct highly complex analyses over public and private data and computational resources, all from a standard PC, UNIX box or Apple computer"1. The GUI provides a user-friendly environment in which this work can take place but has limits in time, compute and data resources imposed by the computer on which the Taverna WMS is running.

To address these limits it is necessary to be able to enact long-running or CPU/data intensive tasks remotely and detached from the Taverna GUI. Fortunately as of version 1.7 of the Taverna software a command-line tool was provided allowing workflows to be enacted without the need for the GUI. This opens up the possibility to run workflows in a HPC/HTC batch scheduled environment, e.g. the NGS compute environment.

This demonstrator comprises of the following components:

Setting up to run

To run the demo:

  1. Install Firefox (if you don't already use Firefox).
  2. Install the GreaseMonkey Add-on.

  3. Install the taverna_myexperiment_ngs.user.js GreaseMonkey user script.

  4. Visit MyExperiment.

Follow ons

This Taverna 1 demo was primarily targeted at the Taverna and MyExperiment projects to show how one might integrate with and utilise NGS resources. Currently this demo is: