Globus Automation Services: Research process automation across the space-time continuum

by   Ryan Chard, et al.

Research process automation–the reliable, efficient, and reproducible execution of linked sets of actions on scientific instruments, computers, data stores, and other resources–has emerged as an essential element of modern science. We report here on new services within the Globus research data management platform that enable the specification of diverse research processes as reusable sets of actions, flows, and the execution of such flows in heterogeneous research environments. To support flows with broad spatial extent (e.g., from scientific instrument to remote data center) and temporal extent (from seconds to weeks), these Globus automation services feature: 1) cloud hosting for reliable execution of even long-lived flows despite sporadic failures; 2) a declarative notation, and extensible asynchronous action provider API, for defining and executing a wide variety of actions and flow specifications involving arbitrary resources; 3) authorization delegation mechanisms for secure invocation of actions. These services permit researchers to outsource and automate the management of a broad range of research tasks to a reliable, scalable, and secure cloud platform. We present use cases for Globus automation services, describe the design and implementation of the services, present microbenchmark studies, and review experiences applying the services in a range of applications


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