Science Outreach Servers
Please help me raise funds to provide computer resources for students and scientists in low- and lower-income countries.
For further information, please visit www.scienceoutreachservers.org You can email me at [email redacted]
Science Outreach Servers is a small network of high-performance workstations equipped with multi-core CPUs and GPUs dedicated to the pursuit of providing computing resources for students and researchers studying life science, theoretical chemistry, theoretical biophysics, and machine learning in a low- or lower-income country.
Even though the Internet provides many educational resources, countless students and early-career scientists are faced with the impossible task of producing real-world research without high-performance computers. Scientists in wealthy Western countries are fortunate to have substantial national data centres, university-managed supercomputers, and departmental clusters. However, countries like Nepal and Bangladesh struggle to provide essential computing resources such as laptops. Science Outreach Servers attempts to bridge this gap, bringing equality to the computational sciences where it can.
The aim is simple:
Enable eligible students and researchers, via remote login, to run computationally intense calculations such as Molecular Dynamics simulations of protein and lipid systems, Machine Learning in cheminformatics space, and genomics in bioinformatics (and a lot more).
Science Outreach Servers is a network of high-performance desktop workstations. Although few in number, we are looking at all opportunities to expand the number of machines. Anthony Nash created and managed the network, a UK-based scientist with over twelve years of experience in scientific research and more than fifteen years of experience in software and system development.
The workstations that are currently available are:
Intel i9 36 core, NVIDIA GTX Quadro 4000, 128 GB RAM
Intel Xeon E5 32 core, x2 NVIDIA GTX 970, 64 GB RAM
Intel Xeon E5 32 core, NVIDIA GTX 2080, 64 GB RAMA
MD 6 core, NVIDIA GTX 1070, 32 GB RAM
NAS Server with 6TB of storage space
We currently support the following software and packages:
Python and R
We hope to support a ligand-docking high throughput screening software package soon.
Please read these short messages from Nisha and Roshan, two science students from Nepal.
“ Hi, Thank you so much for the effort. It really means a lot to students like me. Right now I am unemployed but doing my own freelance research on epigenetics. I have handled large data for projects, but could not work on a lot of samples due to the limited capacity of laptop.
Somebody working from far for poor underprivileged mountain people like me, I have no words to describe. Thank you for being so kind and generous.” - Nisha, from Nepal.
"Dr. Nash is the sole reason why I have been able to pursue my research in computer simulations in spite of multiple hindrances I had to face due to the lack of computational resources in my home country, Nepal. Do support this great initiation of his to bridge this gap." - Roshan Shrestha, a graduate of Tribhuvan University and now PhD student in France.
How much should I contribute?
Any and all contributions are welcomed. However, I only humbly ask for the value of one cup of coffee from your country of origin.
Use of funds:
The funds will be used to offset the following:
- A one-year trial running cost. This is, essentially, a big electricity bill. With this, I also plan to build several small wind turbines to power the computer case fans.
- One year's hosting of a website to manage User Access Requests.
- Continued hardware upgrades and network expansion where possible.
I expect to give access to a maximum of 10 - 15 students from low- and lower-income countries who have little to no access to high-performance computers. Students/Users must be enrolled on chemistry and/or biological/life-science degree, master, or PhD courses or demonstrate that their work (for example, freelance or contract) is for the public good.
Access to the network:
The network is located at my home premises in a ventilated office. Access to the network is made through a login computer (node), and chemistry and biological life science software (as used by UK, EU and US university students - with appropriate licenses for this use) are available for students/Users. The network of workstations will operate under the following priority uses:
First priority: outreach to students in developing countries.
Access to the four high-performance GPU workstations will be given to graduate and post-graduate project students. Access will be assessed through the submission of a project proposal and supporting letter from the student's or supervisor's Head of Department. The user account will be managed using job submission and account management software. Computing resources will be allocated according to the project requirements.
The website will host access instructions and software tutorials. Technical support will be managed by myself and science-support (e.g., the use of software), due to my limited time, rests with the User.
Second priority: technical support.
As the sole owner of the network, I will be responsible for benchmarking software and hardware to ensure Users of the network are allocated appropriate resources and computer time. I will occasionally use the network to test and learn any changes to existing software so I can continue to provide support.
Can't you get second-hand hardware from Universities/companies? I've tried. But, unfortunately, everyone I've contacted has been tied down with hardware end-of-life agreements.
What happens after a year? With any luck, the project continues. I will be applying for science outreach grants and funding and I will also look at a self-sustaining business model.
Why not rent servers from Google, Amazon, IBM etc? Firstly, I already have machines here that are waiting to be used. And secondly, equality and access to education should not rest in the hands of the few.
I have unwanted hardware, would you like it? Please get in touch. You can also find me on Twitter: @AnthonyC1Nash or drop me an email at [email redacted]
With your help, I hope we can make a difference, to someone, somewhere, who was never afforded the privileges we were.