Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Poor-man’s supercomputing goes commercial

19.12.2008
Grid computing technology has long been the darling of cash-strapped academics in desperate need of raw processing power. Now a groundbreaking European research effort has created an industrial-strength platform already appearing in commercial applications.

The SIMDAT project has created a portfolio of tools and services that can finally bring the power of grid computing to industrial applications. Grids capture all the resources of connected computers, from storage to computation.

But up to now grids mostly languished in research labs, where they were used to provide massive processing power or to enable large-scale database management. SIMDAT developed essential business functions for grids, like industrial strength service-level agreements, management and security.

It will mean the advent of virtual organisations, a long-unfulfilled promise of information technology. Grids for business have huge applications in product development, both for data crunching and collaboration, and this was the focus of SIMDAT’s work in the automotive, pharmaceutical, aerospace and weather sectors.

But that is the just the beginning, and the ground broken by SIMDAT will prove a fertile field for grid technology over the next decade. Their work and solutions are relevant to other commercial areas and other industrial sectors. SIMDAT partners are already looking at the potential of adapting their work to new industrial sectors, like shipping and media production.

The commercialisation efforts are already well underway and began months before SIMDAT completed the EU-funded part of its work. Elements of SIMDAT’s wide-ranging research are already appearing in commercial applications.

Compressed data

Take data compression, for example, one small aspect of SIMDAT’s vast research and development programme. SIMDAT made three improvements related to data compression. Large data transfers – typical in grid applications – are now more efficient.

First, it boosted basic compression by a factor of 10, a huge achievement in itself. Second, it developed meta-models. By looking at a series of related datasets, computer scientists found that it was possible to ‘summarise’ their results in a meta-model, and this meta-model provided an accurate analysis of the whole dataset. So data could be exchanged as a meta-model and still be accurate.

The third improvement means it is now possible to make complex queries within summaries (such as why did the behaviour change, or what caused a fault?). By combining these achievements, SIMDAT developed state-of-the-art data compression for industrial grid deployments.

“Data compression technology we developed is now used by most of the automotive companies in Germany and is going to be used by 30 percent of the automobile companies worldwide – so it is already a mature product. And meta-modelling has become a standard technology inside BAE Systems for numerical optimisation,” explains Clemens-August Thole, Fraunhofer SCAI, SIMDAT project coordinator.

Weather without borders

One of SIMDAT’s most advanced commercialisation initiatives is VGISC (pronounced Vegis), the Virtual Global Information System Centre. “It is now deployed at 11 met centres worldwide and it is a prototype for a standard to be proposed by the World Meterological Organisation (WMO),” Thole states.

Weather does not recognise frontiers, and while national organisations can easily access weather data within their territory, analysing border regions is a lot more difficult.

Currently, meteorologists and climate researchers must use different tools for data from different national weather centres. VGISC overcomes that problem by leaving all the management, conversion and delivery of data to the SIMDAT portfolio. The SIMDAT solution also provides analysis tools.

SIMDAT is partnered with weather centres in the UK, Germany and France, but VGISC implements part of the WMO’s World Information System (WIS). “SIMDAT project is the first and only prototype for a WIS implementation. Ultimately, all the met centres worldwide would adapt this software,” explains Thole. “That’s the plan.”

Scientists will be able to access data from anywhere in the world through their web browser. This will be a huge achievement, involving petabytes of information in one of the most complex scientific fields, involving observations, simulations, analysis and prediction.

Setting the standards

SIMDAT is not only a commercial success, it is important in the world of standards, working with the Web Services Resource Framework (WSRF), the Open Grid Forum and W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), and has been active in Global Information Systems via its work with the WMO.

SIMDAT is a vast project. “You have some results already available as... commercial products (more are to come within the next two years), and then there are also some basic research results, which are more ideas, shown in some prototypes. [These] might turn into commercial solutions, but then again might not,” Thole notes.

The upshot, though, is that SIMDAT has already brought commercial solutions to industry, and helped to set the standards for the technology. The project’s impact will be felt for a long time.

The SIMDAT project received funding from the ICT strand of the Sixth Framework Programme for research.

This is the third and last part of a three-part series on SIMDAT.

Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>