David Groep appointed as endowed professor of e-Infrastructure

As of 1 April 2022, David Groep holds an endowed chair at the Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering of UM’s Faculty of Science and Engineering. His work revolves around the complex, large-scale ICT infrastructures that provide a foundation for similarly cutting-edge research.

ICT and science continuously push each other’s boundaries. This is perhaps most evident in ‘Big Science’: science that places such significant demands on budget, innovation, staffing, and facilities, that these projects often require large international teams and governmental involvement. Examples include CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, the international network of gravitational wave detectors, and the future Square Kilometer Array, an intercontinental radio telescope.

Big Science, big infrastructure, and big challenges

Such collaborations pose challenges for the ICT infrastructure that enables key underlying processes like data collection, analysis, and secure communication. For instance, factors like processing power and network and storage availability are important considerations when designing experiments, which often involve overwhelming amounts of data. The number of people that uses these shared ICT facilities is equally impressive, requiring robust security policies and technologies to enable safe collaboration.

As a result, these kind of scientific projects push for innovation: existing ICT infrastructure solutions simply cannot meet their next-level demands.

Research focus

Prof. dr. David Groep has ample experience with exactly this kind of ICT infrastructure. As programme leader of Nikhef’s Data Processing Group, he is for instance responsible for one of the Netherlands’ core data centres of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid – an international constellation of computing centres that provides computing resources for the Large Hadron Collider. He works on the Dutch National e-Infrastructure with SURF, the IT service provider for Dutch education and research, and advises NWO on its Thematic Digital Competence Centres for the Natural and Engineering Sciences.

Professor David Groep

As endowed professor at Maastricht University, Groep will focus on three research lines. These include 1) the validation of ICT infrastructure by analyzing its use in data-processing intensive science, 2) trust and identity management for authentication and authorization in research collaborations, and 3) algorithms that allow optimal exploitation of emerging hardware and systems architectures.

In addition to Groep’s focus on global, European and national ICT infrastructures for science, the Faculty of Science and Engineering’s own data processing-intensive research lines will serve as real-life test cases for his research.

The endowed chair in e-Infrastructure is supported by Nikhef, the Dutch National Institute for Sub-atomic Physics.

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