Business and science to profit from European grids
Researchers in the EGEE-III ('Enabling Grids for E-sciencE') project are on the fast track for improved grid standards and are guaranteeing their commercial uptake. Funded under the 'e-Infrastructures' Activity of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), EGEE-III is the extension of the EGEE and EGEE-II projects, which enabled researchers across regions to cooperate and advance European IT science. Due to be completed in 2010, EGEE-III has received EUR 32 million in financial support.
Since 2004, researchers from Enabling Grids for e-Science have been helping businesses harness the Open Source Grid technologies being developed by the project. The project partners target better IT (information technology) performance and hope to launch new products.
At a recent workshop, EGEE-III teamed up with members of the BEinGRID ('Business Experiments in Grid') project to spotlight how European businesses can benefit from grids use, and to highlight the transfer of smart technologies.
BEinGRID is funded under the 'Information Society Technologies' Thematic area of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) to the tune of EUR 15.7 million. The 95-member consortium is running 25 business experiments designed to implement and deploy grid solutions in industrial sectors.
EGEE-III has two main objectives: to expand, optimise and simplify the use of Europe's largest production grid, and to prepare for the migration of the existing grid from a project-based model to a sustainable federalised infrastructure that is based on national grid initiatives.
The project partners said the continuous operation of the infrastructure, support for more user communities and extra computational and data resources would make the first objective a reality.
'Sustainability of the European grid infrastructure is intimately bound up with rapidly and widely enlarging the user base across EU-27,' explained Per Öster of CSC-IT Center for Science Ltd, an EGEE-III partner. 'This will be achieved through an effective programme for dissemination, training and technology transfer towards the business world.'
EGEE-III technical director Steven Newhouse said the team has succeeded in resolving a number of issues affecting the project's business activities.
According to the partners, EGEE's scientific communities need commercial or non-commercial licensed software to support many stages of their application workflows, good news for interested parties keen to take advantage of the EGEE grid infrastructure.
The research initiative StratusLab is taking up EGEE-III's specific outcomes. Launched in November 2008, StratusLab is exploring the integration of cloud technologies and services including virtualisation into existing grid infrastructures.
In a nutshell, EGEE is targeting the development of a secure, reliable and robust grid infrastructure, the supply of a computing service for a number of scientific disciplines, and the support for various users from science and industry. Technical and training support will be provided for them as well.
Coordinating EGEE-III is the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. The consortium includes more than 140 institutions from 33 countries; partners include CESNET (Czech Republic), the Athens University of Economics and Business (Greece), the Institute for Parallel Processing at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (Bulgaria), the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), HealthGrid (France), the University of Glasgow (UK), Elsag Datamat SpA (Italy), Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum GmbH (Germany), the Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute (Russia) and the Slovak Academy of Sciences' Institute of Informatics (Slovakia).