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36 national grids initiatives in Europe support the EGI concept

36 national grids initiatives in Europe have recognized the need for an European Grid Initiative (EGI) that will link existing national grid initiatives and actively supports the setup and initiation of new grid initiatives.

Driven by the needs and requirements of the research community, EGI will constitute a key element of the European Research Area. A dedicated study, the EGI Design Study, supported by the EU’s 7th Framework Program, has just been launched to establish the conceptual setup for a sustainable grid infrastructure in Europe. The project extends from September 2007 to December 2009, after receiving a formal approval from the European Commission.

Grid computing makes access to widely distributed computing resources as easy as those on the user’s own desktop. A grid infrastructure makes networking, computing and data resources available to users regardless of their geographical location. It improves the efficiency of scientific and industrial research as well as other digital services such as digital libraries.

A high-quality research network is an essential part of the technological infrastructure for global scientific cooperation and advancement in many fields. It is urgent to ensure that reliable and adaptive grid infrastructures are continuously maintained, independent of project funding cycles.

Europe has invested heavily in e-science programmes over the past years both at the National and the European levels with impressive results. Grid technology is recognized as a fundamental component for e-infrastructures. Supported by the European Commission, Europe has established itself as the world leader in the field. To this day 36 European countries have expressed their support for the European Grid Initiative Design Study.

Many countries have launched or are in the process of launching National Grid Initiatives (NGI) to establish national grid infrastructures for providing a common e-Science Infrastructure in support of all sciences. These NGIs provide a single point of contact, reducing the management and organizational overhead of international cooperation. While national infrastructures are fundamental in providing local connectivity and resources to researchers, they need to be linked seamlessly at a world-wide level to enable global scientific collaboration.

These national bodies need therefore to be complemented by a second structure, the future EGI organization, to coordinate issues on a European scale, including operations management, policy, standards and middleware testing. Centralisation of these services will help to bind the different European Grids into a seamless whole, providing truly virtualised services from the user’s point of view. Complementing the operations coordination, a central hub would also provide testing, certification, and validation services for the infrastructure. EGI will collaborate closely with industry as technology and service providers, as well as grid users, to promote the rapid and successful uptake of grid technology by European industry. The EGI Design Study will work out the various issues, and propose solutions to address all these points and achieve a realistic design of the EGI that will satisfy the following vision.

The guidelines of the EGI Design Study: VISION AND OBJECTIVES OF EGI:

To ensure that Europe capitalises fully on its large investment in grid infrastructures, middleware development and applications, the objectives of the future EGI are:

• Ensure the long-term sustainability of the European e-infrastructure
• Coordinate the integration and interaction between National Grid Infrastructures
• Operate the European level of the production grid infrastructure for a wide range of scientific disciplines to link National Grid Infrastructures
• Provide global services and support that complement and/or coordinate national services (Authentication, VO-support, security, etc)
• Coordinate middleware development and standardisation to enhance the infrastructure by soliciting targeted developments from leading EU and National Grid middleware development projects
• Advise National and European Funding Agencies in establishing their programmes for future software developments based on agreed user needs and development standards
• Integrate, test, validate and package software from leading grid middleware development projects and make it widely available
• Provide documentation and training material for the middleware and operations. (NGIs may wish to make the material available in turn in their local language)
• Take into account developments made by national e-science projects which were aimed at supporting diverse communities
• Link the European infrastructure with similar infrastructures elsewhere
• Promote grid interface standards based on practical experience gained from grid operations and middleware integration activities, in consultation with relevant standards organizations

The first EGI Design Study workshop will be held on Tuesday, 2. October 2007 in Budapest, during the EGEE´07 conference.

National Grid Initiatives:

Austria (GUP, Austrian Grid Initiative)
Belarus (Belarusian National Technical University)
Belgium (BELNET, BEgrid)
Bulgaria (SAITC)
Croatia (SRCE)
Cyprus (University of Cyprus)
Czech Republic (CESNET)
Denmark (DCSC)
Estonia (NICPB)
Finland (CSC)
France (CNRS)
Germany (DFN, D-Grid)
Greece (GRNET, Hellasgrid National Grid Initiative)
Hungary (NIIF, Hungarian Grid Competence Center)
Ireland (Grid-Ireland)
Israel (IAG)
Italy (INFN, Italian Grid Infrastructure)
Latvia (Ministry of Education and Science)
Lithuania (Lit-Grid)
Luxembourg (Restena)
Malta (University of Malta)
Netherlands (NCF)
Norway (NorGrid)
Poland (PL-Grid)
Portugal (FCT, LIP, UMIC, Portuguese National grid Initiative)
Romania (National Authority for Scientific Research)
Russia (RDIG)
Serbia (AEGIS)
Slovakia (SAS)
Slovenia (SiGNET)
Spain (e-Science Network)
Sweden (SNIC, SweGrid)
Switzerland (CBCS/SWITCH, Swiss Grid Initiative)
UK (e-Science Institute)
Ukraine (National Academy of Sciences, Ukrainian Academic Grid Initiative)

Leena Jukka | alfa
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