Getting a clearer picture of EGI
As the starting date of EGI draws closer, it is undergoing a transformation: from a distant object on the horizon, to a future reality in which we can discern more and more detail.
EGI―the European Grid Initiative―will be the organising body for Europe-wide academic and research grids as of May 2010, continuing the work started within Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE). As mentioned in the last edition of this publication, the projects’ External Advisory Committee recommended that EGEE look into planning for a possible project extension.
EGEE extension not anticipated
After receiving and analysing feedback from EGEE partners (institutions that are members of the project) and taking into account the latest spending profile of the project (we are on target in terms of effort and funding consumption) the EGEE Project Management Board thinks it is unlikely that we will request an extension, however a final decision will be taken in September during the EGEE’09 conference.
Specialised Support Centres for EGI
While EGI operations will follow a decentralised model for the most part, there naturally is a need for some infrastructure-wide support services. These would cover infrastructure functions (such as a central helpdesk, accounting, monitoring, configuration, etc.) and more general user support functions (such as community specific support, training, application porting, dissemination, etc.).
In April NA4 organised the first SSC-focused meeting in Athens to help members of the European grid community learn more about how an SSC could be organized and potentially funded. Likely, SSCs will fall into two broad categories: science SSCs which will build on the work of the current EGEE application (NA4) clusters and similar structures from other projects, and support SSCs which will help new communities. Such SSCs might include elements of the current training, dissemination and business activities (from within NA3 and NA2). Another meeting is planned in early July in Paris for these groups, and others involved in EGI proposals.
Core staff members
The board managing the EGI Design Study (EGI_DS) has nominated candidates for the Editorial Board of the EGI project proposal and the interim EGI.eu Project Director (since this is needed to lead preparations for the transfer of operations from EGEE to EGI). The following persons have been agreed:
- Laura Perini, INFN, Italy, will co-coordinate the EGI project proposal Editorial Board. She will focus on operations and the proposal of the central organising body of EGI (EGI.eu).
- Charles (Cal) Loomis, LAL/IN2P3, France coordinator will also co-coordinate the EGI project proposal Editorial Board. His focus will be the applications and Scientific Support Cluster proposals.
- Steven Newhouse, CERN, will be the interim EGI.eu Project Director.
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EGEE’09… Barcelona here we come: draft programme now available!
Now is the time to register for the final conference of the EGEE project! Early bird registration for EGEE’09 is open until June 30th. To get the best hotel rooms you should try to book as soon as possible! To register and book your hotel, visit the conference webpage.
EGEE’09 will open up participation to the large diverse e-Infrastructures community in Europe around the conference theme - ‘Uniting our strengths to realise the sustainable European grid’. This includes the communities using the various e-Infrastructures, the operations groups that run them, the software developers who build them, and the projects that are collaborating with the European e-Infrastructures around the world. A is now available.
During the EGEE’09, a with TERENA will bring together grid providers and network providers (NRENs). A key point of this meeting is to foster the collaboration between the two worlds but also prepare for maintaining this collaboration within the EGI-NGI. The workshop will mainly focus on grid requirements and advanced network services that could benefit to the grid infrastructure. The network booth will also be performing demonstrations during the week.
Organisations wishing to book an exhibition space, should book their booth ASAP by filling out the exhibition form.
EGEE’09 publicity material is also available! You can now download the A0 poster (PDF – 1.49 Mo) or the A6 post card (PDF – 812 Ko) announcing the EGEE’09 conference.
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Seed resources—up and ready for you!
Jumping the Hurdles and Sowing Seeds: EGEE makes it easier for new communities to get into Grid
Clearing the hurdles
While not as gruelling as some clubs’ initiation processes, a new user community wanting to get on the Grid must jump over certain hurdles when getting started. Fortunately, they now have help at every step… or “leap”.
New user groups face three main challenges in the start-up process: first they must learn to use a new and potentially complicated technology, secondly they need to successfully adjust their favoured computer programs to run in this new environment (known as “porting an application”) and finally they must have access to computing and storage resources in order to run their computer programs.
Generally a group or institution owns or purchases a computing cluster which is then connected to, and incorporated with, the larger, pan-national computing infrastructure – the Grid. Since purchasing a cluster is a significant expense, and connecting their cluster to the Grid can be a complicated business, this last hurdle can effectively exclude smaller and less technically aware communities from the Grid.
Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE), Europe’s largest grid computing infrastructure for research, has long aided new users by operating a . For the last year EGEE has also been providing new and existing user communities with an . They are now helping new users over the third and final challenge. Says EGEE’s technical director Steven Newhouse:
“The commissioning of these seed resources completes our efforts to essentially hold the hands of new groups to help them get on the Grid.”
A collection of resources, amounting to 257 processing cores and 27 TB of disk space located and four different clusters, has been set aside by EGEE for the newly grid-interested for six months. The project has allocated funds to support these resources so they are freely available to new users, and integrated them into its support process. Additionally, users will also get direct expert support from grid site managers and EGEE’s .
, an initative to share and integrate climactic data among several centres in a seamless environment will be one of the first Virtual Organisations to use the Seed Resources.
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JOGC call for papers
EGEE is teaming up with SpringerLink, publishers of the , to produce a special issue: “EGEE applications and supporting technologies”.
This will give an opportunity to the 96 oral presenters at the User Forum, to prepare a full paper describing their work, which will be reviewed by their peers.
The publishers are looking for 15-20 page papers describing original and significant work involving applications on EGEE, and the use and development of key grid technologies.
Areas of Interest:
- Scientific results obtained using grid technology
- Planned or on-going scientific work using the grid
- Experiences from application porting and deployment
- Grid services exploiting and extending the gLite middleware (job management, data management, monitoring, workflows etc)
- Programming environments
- End-user environments and portal technologies
- Emerging technologies within the EGEE infrastructure (cloud, virtualisation etc.)
Deadline for paper submission: 31 July 2009
Final acceptance confirmation: March 2010
Final edition publication: September 2010
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MATLAB resources: EGEE welcomes MATLAB users into the fold
For a new set of researchers, Europe’s largest computing infrastructure for research just became a lot more attractive. One of the most powerful tools for research, MATLAB®, can now run on EGEE computing power. Widely regarded as the single most useful piece of technical computing software, for use in everything from optimising controller settings in advance of a rocket launch to engineering to vector analysis, MATLAB® is now fully compatible with any grid computing system using the gLite middleware stack.
This development has already been warmly welcomed by researchers from finance and telecommunications and EGEE hopes it will draw many more to use EGEE resources.
Read the in International Science Grid This Week.
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From Prague, na shledanou!: EGEE at Research Connections 2009
-As told by Catherine Gater, EGEE dissemination manager
“Distributed, distributed, distributed”. This was Jeremy Rifkin’s vision, for the future of Europe, outlined in his keynote speech at in Prague in early May, “Distributed energy resources and distributed e-Infrastructure”, together leading to the next stage of European integration. According to Rifkin, President of the in the US, in the future every building must become its own mini power plant, a positive energy producer. “Europe must lead and we will follow,” said Rifkin.
Research Connections 2009 celebrated the Czech Presidency of the EU and welcomed scientists, entrepreneurs and industrialists to find out more about EU funded research, with particular emphasis on the New Member States. On stage were selected EU-funded projects, including EGEE, to promote the networking and integration of research activities in Europe.
EGEE and collaborative computing grids are the positive energy producers of the e-Infrastructure world — participants contribute more computing resources to the grid than they consume so the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. The importance of what Rifkin called the “distributed ICT revolution” was echoed by John Wood, senior advisor at Imperial College, London in the panel session on recent developments in building the European Research Area.
“E-Infrastructures are key,” said Wood, sentiments underlined by Bob Jones of Enabing Grids for E-sciencE and Ludek Matyska of the European Grid Initiative Design Study in the ‘Research Infrastructures: nurturing knowledge’ session.
A stroll around the exhibition area revealed everything from large-scale projects with the most visionary of blue sky research in mind to highly practically-focused projects with refreshingly everyday applications.
The project for example, brings freshly baked bread to your local supermarket with superior texture and nutritional values using the 'Bake Off Technology'. Equally fundamental but on much a larger scale is the , destined for construction at Cadarache in France, which will become the world’s biggest experimental fusion reactor. Fusion offers the promise of an unlimited future energy source that is safe, environmentally responsible and economically viable. Looking at the sheer scale of the project – the tokamak will be 24 metres in diameter - brings back to mind Jeremy Rifkin’s call for a “third industrial revolution” to stave off global warming. Economic revolutions are made possible by technological revolutions, with grid technology a major driving force.
The attractively-named project has a small booth showcasing ‘’, an application that helps avoid catastrophic mid-flight ‘bird strikes’ by alerting military and civilian planes to bird migrations across Europe. Bringing together data from military and weather radars, as well as signal traces from individually tagged birds, ‘Flysafe’ merges these originally incompatible sources of data to drive complex simulations of bird movements. The demonstrator tells me that he thinks the system could be gridified in the not too distant future – watch out for more news in future publications!
A particularly diverse and energising conference, my thanks go out to the tireless demonstrators Tsjerk Wassenaar, of the University of Utrecht and Andrea Giachetti of CERM in Italy, who brought their prize-winning “” demo from the 4th EGEE User Forum to Prague. Not to mention my assistant from local EGEE partner CESNET, Vlasta Zakova, who demonstrated her impressive juggling skills to help draw in visitors to the booth. From Prague, na shledanou!
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Off to Uppsala: EGEE’s 5th User Forum will head north
Looking further ahead, the location for the 5th and final EGEE User Forum has been chosen. The event will take place in Uppsala, Sweden on the 12-16 April, 2010.
The event will be organised by the Swedish EGEE partner with its Stockholm (PDC) and Uppsala (UPPMAX) centers supported by Uppsala University and the city of Uppsala.
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Finding new RESERVOIRs of resources: Europe’s largest grid project moves closer to cloud-style computing
The integration of two clans of computation, ‘grid’ and ‘cloud’ computing, is moving closer through collaboration between EGEE and the Resources and Services Virtualisation without Barriers (RESERVOIR).
The two teams will work together to explore how the institutes providing computing resources to EGEE could benefit from adopting a ‘private cloud’ model to provide resources. Private clouds allow organisations to easily manage their own hardware resources in-house. Using virtualisation technology they can alter the provided computing to suit the work at hand. This makes it easier for them to provide the necessary infrastructure for their users, even if these needs change rapidly over time.
This collaboration will identify how the combination of RESEVOIR’s management software and existing virtualisation technology could offer new ways for EGEE to maximise the use of the resources provided to its user communities. In the future this approach could help sites to increase their resources by using commercial cloud providers during peak loads.
“Throughout EGEE, our partners invest considerable funds on the purchase and management of computing clusters” said Steven Newhouse, EGEE’s Technical Director. “This partnership with the RESERVOIR project will allow us to explore how their software could give EGEE’s resource centres greater flexibility in how they deliver their services to our worldwide grid infrastructure.”
EGEE currently provides resources to many scientific domains, each of these domains has different computational requirements and application environments. RESERVOIR offers the ability for EGEE sites to easily meet the changing needs of the users, from scaling-up services to meet peak loads and improving redundancy, to changing the resources provided to run particular applications. The RESERVOIR virtualisation manager builds on the open source project OpenNebula which has been developed at the Distributed Systems Architecture Research Group at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. The group's aim is to make management of cloud resources easier using virtual machine technology.
“This partnership between the largest European Grid project and the flagship European research initiative in cloud computing is a natural step given the many benefits of virtualisation on Grid computing” said Ignacio M. Llorente, leader of the RESERVOIR Activity on VM Management and co-leader of OpenNebula, “This is only the beginning, I think that Grid and Cloud computing will coexist and cooperate at different levels in future e-Infrastructures.”
A short video demonstrating RESERVOIR technology can be seen at .
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