Skip to main content

Birds of a Feather at PEARC23: Exploring the Impact of AI Computing Paradigms on Science Gateways and National Compute Resources

By: Claire Stirm, Michael Zentner, Sandra Gesing

At PEARC23 in Portland, OR, the SGX3 team led a Birds of a Feather (BOF) session called "The Impact of AI Computing Paradigms on Science Gateways and National Compute Resources." With forty expert and enthusiastic community members in attendance representing diverse scientific backgrounds, we delved into the intersections of artificial intelligence (AI) and computational science.

Embracing AI in the Realm of Science Gateways

Science Gateways have long played a pivotal role in democratizing access to scientific software, data collections, and high-performance computing resources. They have enabled researchers across various domains to harness the power of complex computations through intuitive web interfaces. As AI-based approaches gain prominence in problem-solving across disciplines, it has become imperative that Science Gateways should  adapt and evolve to accommodate these novel computational models.

The BoF session illuminated the increasing adoption of AI within scientific workflows, highlighting the profound impact it has on research methodologies and outcomes. Discussions were marked by the collective realization that AI is no longer confined to specialized domains; it is permeating diverse fields, from genomics and material science to climate modeling and beyond. This broadening scope underscores the urgency for Science Gateways to evolve, catering to the burgeoning demand for AI-driven computations.

Throughout the BoF session, participants engaged in rapid ideation sessions called Brain Trusts. The room was split into four separate Brain Trust areas, each with its own focus questions. The Brain Trust sessions ran for 15 minutes, and were repeated 3 times to allow attendees to participate in  3 of the focus questions. The four focus questions were:

  • What are novel modes of computing implied by AI? Which will have the greatest impact on CI for gateways and national compute resources?

  • What are the interesting aspects related to data sharing? How do the various compute loads and modes impact how data are shared, moved, and accessed?

  • What are or should be the goals of broadening access to compute resources for AI purposes? Who can be brought into the community that previously was not?

  • How can AI be used in a science gateway to make it more effective, efficient, or otherwise better?

The structure each of these 15 minute Brain Trusts was as follows: 


  • 2 minutes: The facilitator posed the question and encouraged thinking out of the box.

  • 5 minutes: Attendees engaged in rapid-fire writing of ideas on sticky notes and were encouraged not to think to eliminate their ideas out of a feeling they might not be right or good enough.

  • 5 minutes: Attendees placed their sticky notes on a grid in any of the following categories and engaged in discussion about their ideas after placement:

    • Easy, just do it

    • Very high impact

    • Wild and crazy

    • Important but requires programmatic funding

  • 3 minutes: Attendees chose another Brain Trust area in which to participate next.

The discussions resonated with the collective vision of paving the way for the next 5-10 years of computational advancement. 

Key Takeaways and Insights

Several key takeaways emerged from the vibrant discussions at the BoF session:

  • Interdisciplinary Synergy: The convergence of AI and Science Gateways fosters collaboration across diverse scientific domains, opening new avenues for multidisciplinary research and discovery

  • Resource Optimization: As AI-driven workloads surge, optimizing resource allocation, hardware utilization, and data management strategies becomes pivotal for efficient scientific computing

  • User-Centric Design: Adapting Science Gateways to incorporate AI mandates user-centric design principles, ensuring accessibility and ease of use for researchers across skill levels

  • Evolving Infrastructure: The dynamic landscape of AI and HPC requires an agile and adaptable computing infrastructure that can accommodate evolving computational paradigms.

Unveiling the Road Ahead

In conclusion, the Birds-of-a-Feather session at PEARC23 provided an invaluable platform for the scientific community to collectively begin envisioning the future of AI-infused Science Gateways and computational resources. As the SGX3 Center of Excellence embarks on its mission to document these transformative trends, a Blueprint Factory focused on AI enhancements will continue to gauge the community on addressing challenges and identifying next steps.