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EOSCpilot Science Demonstrator: Photon Neutron Virtual Platform


Exploiting a community of more than 35,000 unique users (in 2011), the science demonstrator aims to enable cloud based storage and compute solutions, foster standardized data formats and allow transparent and secure remote access to scientific data. In this demonstrator, the focus is on a particular data analysis framework outlined in the diagram. The crystfel framework is increasingly used at various synchrotrons and FELs to analyze date from serial (femto-second) x-ray crystallography. The nature of these experiments make a cloud-based distributed pipeline particularly appealing since the framework can fully exploit large computational resources with tunable demands. The framework is well documented and vast amount of data are readily and openly available.


  • Exploit and improve the crystfel framework for distributed computing.
  • Provide compatible data analysis software
  • Allow transparent and secure remote access to data
  • Standardize data formats NeXus/HDF5 and annotation of data
  • Test and establish (if feasible) web-services for easy consumption and visualization of the data
  • Exploit existing authentication and authorization solutions
  • Allow long term preservation of data
  • Promote data policies in laboratories


  • Deploy and test of the software used by a large community in structural biology at Free Electron Lasers and Synchrotrons on a local OpenStack cloud platform and on local HPC clusters at DESY, Hamburg.
  • Examination of the workflow to identify and establish community-specific cloud services and gain insight into technical, organizational, legal issues and interoperability requirements.
  • Several applications from the Photon and Neutron field have been containerized, deployed and partially profiled.
  • Identification of some features, which would be helpful in a further deployment, like tools and service facilitating server-less partitioning of data analysis pipelines.
  • Scale up the on-site OpenStack infrastructure due to successful proof of concept, which has greatly raised interest and visibility in the user community. This development on the hardware side is complemented by integrating new OpenStack modules into our cloud instance.


A substantial part of the applications in the Photon/Neutron science domain is “free to use for academic purposes” but subject to restrictive licensing conditions. Providing services based on such applications requires to know that the user agreed to the license’s terms and is indeed an academic user. This can, of course, be controlled on a per-service basis, however, it would be more convenient, manageable and scalable to provide such attributes in a federated way integrated into the EOSC ecosystem.


Learn more of this EOSC demonstrator on the EOSCpilot website.

The EOSC portal has been jointly developed and maintained by the eInfraCentral, EOSC-hub, EOSCpilot and OpenAIRE-Advance projects funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme with contribution of the European Commission.