Management Structure of PolyHub

The PolyHub organizational and management charter was adopted on February 15, 2008. This charter serves as the official statement of the purpose, governance, and usage of the EVO, and describes in sufficient detail the principles pertaining to general PolyHub usage, intellectual property rights, data and code sharing, software access, etc. The organizational structure, as instituted by the PolyHub Charter, is summarized in the following paragraphs.

PolyHub is governed by an international Board Of Directors, which is chaired by the EVO Director, Brian Edwards. The organizational structure of PolyHub is intended to be minimal, nonintrusive, and conducive to collaboratory research in a geographically extended, virtual network of polymer scientists. The Director is responsible for all executive administration of the overall virtual organization. The Director acts as liaison to the National Science Foundation and with the administration of the University of Tennessee. The Board is charged with the responsibility to facilitate collaborations, not to micromanage them. Its primary responsibility is to define PolyHub policies, operations, administration, resource allocation, prioritization, and project guidance.

The operational principles and procedures to be applied to PolyHub use and administration are established in the PolyHub Charter. Outside of a few guidelines, described below, additional items will be added as needed, and as determined by the Board. Quarterly meetings of the Board, conducted via CalTech EVO conferencing software, will review PolyHub usage, applications, revisions to usage criteria, etc. It is likely that the full board, or a significant fraction of it, might not attend all meetings due to scheduling issues over many time zones. A quorum is thus defined as whatever fraction is available at the particular date and time. Face-to-face meetings of the Board will occur in conjunction with international congresses and conferences, which many Board members are likely to attend for technical presentations.

CalTech EVO (Enabling Virtual Organizations) software will be used for video conferencing and networking. This software is available free-of-charge in the public domain, and is compatible with Windows, MacIntosh, and Linux operating systems. This will enable quarterly board meetings, as well as individual research meetings of PolyHub affiliates. It features video and audio interfacing, whiteboard and file sharing, and other large bandwidth applications. Research productivity and collaborations can grow dramatically with everyday use of this capability, and these will be dictated by the compatibility and complementation of the science, without regard to geography.

PolyHub provides a centralized distribution, storage, computational, and server platform for all aspects of polymer physics and dynamics research. Data storage, of experimental or computational origin, will be stored for use by the entire PolyHub community. Many Terabytes of storage will be dedicated to this project, so that all data of relevance can be saved in sufficient detail to allow other affiliates to use it without having to repeat an experiment or simulation. PolyHub acts as a server and central distribution site for graphical, imaging, and animation software, creating a common suite among affiliated institutions for presenting simulation and experimental data.

Another key feature of PolyHub is the distributed computing capability, patterned after the successful implementation of the Open Science Grid. Rather than waste idle computational cycles at participating affiliate institutions, research groups can join the distributed computing grid, whereby programs submitted to the centralized PolyHub server are distributed to network machines when these are not being used by the host institutions. This allows shared computational usage for maximizing simulation capacity, without placing any additional burden on the host institution. Furthermore, PolyHub users have access not only to shared computational facilities at participating PolyHub institutions, but also over the entire global Open Science Grid network. Perhaps the most exciting feature of PolyHub is the potential to use the common computational platform provided to combine codes and algorithms to produce global collaborations which combine complementary methodologies into faster, more rigorous, more detailed, and more illuminating simulations of polymer physics and dynamics.