Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mobile grids nurture virtual organisations

05.03.2008
Organisations co-operating on a task often have difficulties exchanging information and sharing resources. European researchers demonstrate how grid technology could let diverse players, both fixed and mobile, share a common information space both in emergencies and for routine business needs.

A bomb goes off in a crowded shopping centre. Police, fire and paramedic services respond along with the centre’s own security staff. A neighbouring school is evacuated and hospitals are put on alert. Several local and national government agencies, utility companies, transport companies and businesses become drawn into the aftermath.

How the crisis is handled depends crucially on the communications systems in use. Can the police talk to the local security staff? Can the fire service exchange information on casualties with the paramedics? Who can access the images from the surveillance cameras? Where will the evacuated children go?

In situations like this, many organisations and individuals who normally work independently need to come together quickly to form a ‘virtual organisation’. Unfortunately, the infrastructure to permit free communication between everyone within such virtual organisations has been lacking – until now.

The solution comes from a convergence of interest between two communities that historically have had little to do with each other. One is research scientists using the most powerful supercomputers, often based at selected universities. To share these scarce resources they use a grid, analogous to an electricity supply grid, so that subscribing users can tap into the computing power wherever they may be.

The second group is the network providers and telecom companies who are busy building ever-faster telephone and data networks, especially the ‘next-generation’ networks that will bring ultrafast internet links into every home.

Dynamic collaborations
From the overlap between these two areas comes a new idea: can we provide a service grid to supply all manner of resources not just for researchers but also for public authorities, businesses and individuals? And can mobile users be accommodated as well?

The idea crystallised as Akogrimo, an EU-funded project to develop the infrastructure to make such a grid possible. “We’re talking about a mechanism to enable dynamic collaborations between different organisations,” says project manager Stefan Wesner of Stuttgart University.

Now that the project has finished, the partners, led by project coordinator Telefónica, are looking for ways to develop commercial applications.

A key difference with other grid projects is that Akogrimo is designed to link not only organisations but also individuals, often using mobile devices. It can accommodate virtual organisations that are set up in advance for day-to-day tasks and also those, such as in a crisis situation, that come into being at very short notice.

It also copes with many different kinds of devices. “A user may connect to the grid using different devices,” Wesner explains. “It could be a fixed workstation, it could be a small PDA, or some other device. They all have different capabilities, screen size, computational power, and use different bandwidths.”

Akogrimo can also keep track of people switching from one device to another without breaking communication, ideal for individuals on the move. The imagined bomb attack was the major application demonstrated in Akogrimo with the assistance of the local authority and emergency services in Bristol.

“It was a bit like having a single information space between all the people involved in the crisis,” says Wesner.

Remote diagnosis
Many applications in telemedicine are possible, especially to support paramedics or other mobile response teams. Diagnostic techniques usually only available in hospitals could be brought to the patient through the grid, along with audiovisual consultations with clinical specialists.

Likewise, service technicians in the field could access powerful diagnostic tools and expert advice wherever they go. For emergency repairs to expensive products, such as aircraft, this could be very cost effective.

Akogrimo also has applications in education, not just in distance learning but, for example, in supporting students on field trips so they can easily share the information they gather.

Of course, in a commercial grid, where services are supplied by many businesses to many users, the problem arises of how to keep track of who owes what to whom. Akogrimo has solved this too.

“We have a model where you get a single bill for all these services from different companies, combined as a single payment,” Wesner told ICT Results. “I would say this is one of our key innovations.”

Many other projects around the world are looking at the potential of grids for providing services, but Akogrimo is the only one that has designed an infrastructure for mobile users.

Some of the partners are now working on a commercial application of Akogrimo, known as Sea Cage Gateway, to support the offshore fish farming community in Norway.

“Europe is actually in a leading position in the commercial next-generation grid area,” Wesner points out. “The funding for grids in the USA is mostly provided by the departments of energy and defence so their applications are quite different. Everything to do with the commercial usage of grids is well influenced by European stakeholders.”

Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/id/89587

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans
16.01.2017 | University of Southern California

nachricht Fraunhofer FIT announces CloudTeams collaborative software development platform – join it for free
10.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>