BioExcel Centre of Excellence in ELIXIR all-hands Berlin 2018


Last June 2018, 4th to 7th, ELIXIR Europe run its annual all-hands meeting. Members from across the ELIXIR Nodes (with more than 20 countries) joint together to review achievements and activities from last year and discuss plans for the future. The venue for this year’s event was one of the cultural epicentres in Europe: Berlin. The 4-days meeting programme was crowded with talks, workshops, parallel sessions and plenary talks, including a couple of must-see bioinformatics keynotes: the support from ELIXIR to the genome interpretation for the 100,000 Genomes Project, and the role of bioinformatics in the gut flora research. The conference is an opportunity for all the platform leaders to show the work done in the last year, with contributions from all the project partners.

 

BioExcel Centre of Excellence prepared a poster (see picture) presenting the work done in collaboration with the Workflow and Tool interoperability project, pushing for best practices in workflows development, in particular in biomolecular simulation workflows. The meeting gave us the opportunity to meet and chat with key persons for this project, such as the Common Workflow Language (CWL) project lead Michael Crusoe, the bio.tools registry and EDAM ontology project lead Jon Ison, the Galaxy workflow manager project lead Björn Grüning, the ReGaTE project lead Hervé Ménager, and our partners in BioExcel, but also leaders of the Tools and Interoperability packages Steven Newhouse and Carole Goble (respectively). This networking possibility was really successful, with new meetings agreed, and a great speed-up in some of the ongoing processes, such as the inclusion of structural and flexibility terms in the EDAM ontology.

 

However, the most gratifying feeling came when BioExcel Centre of Excellence made its appearance through the different talks from the ELIXIR platform leaders. BioExcel was cited in the Tools platform presentation by Salvador Capella (Workflow and tool interoperability project), in the Compute platform presentation by Steven Newhouse (Cloud Portal), in the Interoperability platform presentation by Carole Goble (Workflow and tool interoperability project) and also in the Training platform presentation by Gabriella Rustici (Training portal, see picture). But that was not all; the impression of all BioExcel partners attending to the different parallel sessions, especially on those related to workflows (CWL, Galaxy, OpenEBench), was that the centre is starting to be recognized in the wider ELIXIR environment. All these symptoms are denoting the good link established between BioExcel and ELIXIR, introducing software best practices in Biomolecular Simulations workflows, using computational tools to register and deploy them, and giving training courses to make them visible.

BioExcel will keep working during this year on making this link stronger, and are looking forward to meet our ELIXIR mates in the next year all-hands in Lisbon, Portugal!

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