The 2nd Global Research Platform (2GRP) Workshop, organized by Joe Mambretti (Northwestern University) and Maxine Brown (University of Illinois Chicago), is an evolving effort focused on design, implementation, and operation strategies for next-generation distributed services and network infrastructure, including interoperable Science DMZs, on a global scale, to facilitate data transfer and accessibility. Initially intended to be physically co-located with the IEEE e-Science 2021 conference in Innsbruck, Austria, 2GRP went virtual when e-Science went virtual.
Despite the shortcomings of Zoom meetings, having 2GRP online democratized the event, with 140 people registering. While not everyone attended every session (70 was the maximum number at a session), there was a great deal of diversity in age, gender and nationality. Also, there was an increase in institutions “sending” people to 2GRP, as online access was more economical than sending people to a physical meeting.
2GRP had people register from at least 24 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latin America (Chile, Venezuela, Uruguay, etc), Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland), Poland, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States.
Most, if not all, speakers thankfully stuck to their allotted time, and attendees were quite spirited when asking questions or offering suggestions. Zoom’s CHAT feature enabled side conversations and new collaborations were being made – a “happening” not typically attributed to online gatherings. In all, 2GRP was a huge success and the organizers’ goal is to keep up the momentum.