Whether dealing with high-power particle accelerators, astronomical observatories or Earth-watching spacecraft, modern science involves vast volumes of information, and researchers require powerful Grid computing techniques to manage this data deluge.
And at a time when the research teams working on the biggest scientific problems of our time – from climate modelling to molecular biology or high energy physics - are larger and more diffuse than ever before, Grid computing offers a promising way for such groups to perform e-collaboration: forming virtual organisations able to remotely work together, sharing data, tools and resources. A two-day workshop at ESAs centre in Italy this week covered scientific and also industrial Grid computing applications, highlighting current systems as well as the likely course of future Grid development and applications. Around 40 local scientific researchers and representatives from industry gathered for the Grid and e-Collaboration for the Space Community workshop. The event took place on 2 and 3 February at the European Space Research Institute (ESRIN) in Frascati overlooking Rome. A day of discussion was followed by a second day of tutorials in Grid use.
It was an appropriate locale because ESRIN is dedicated to Earth Observation data archiving and distribution, an increasingly demanding task. For example, in just under three years of Envisat satellite operations, two Petabytes of derived data have now been archived, enough information to fill 20 million filing cabinets. The need to handle these much data and make them available to users has led ESRIN to take up Grid technology. "We have begun an Earth Science Grid-On-Demand service based on our local Grid," explained organiser Luigi Fusco of ESRIN. "From this single site, users gain access to large volumes of Earth Observation data and can easily and quickly perform a variety of data reprocessing, including fine-tuning new algorithms to get optimal results." Applications so far include satellite image mosaicking to monitor changing global chlorophyll concentrations on a monthly basis and tracking iceberg movement in polar regions.
Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
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The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
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Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
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