UK plans for Grid computing changed gear this week. The pioneering European DataGrid (EDG) project came to a successful conclusion at the end of March, and on 1 April a new project, known as Enabling Grids for E-Science in Europe (EGEE), begins. The UK is a major player in both projects, providing key staff and developing crucial areas of the technology. While EDG tested the concept of large-scale Grid computing, EGEE aims to create a permanent, reliable Grid infrastructure across Europe.
Grid computing pulls together the processing power and data storage of thousands of computers, spread over hundreds of locations. Professor Steve Lloyd, Chair of the UK Particle Physics Grid, explains that, "Individual scientists using the Grid wont need to know where the data is held or which machines are running their programmes. So whereas a PC on the web provides information or access to services, such as banking or shopping, a PC on the Grid offers its computing power and storage."
The European DataGrid (EDG) project started three years ago, with the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) providing £2.1m funding, as one of six main partners. EDG took a major step towards making the concept of a world-wide computing Grid a reality, building a test computing infrastructure capable of providing shared data and computing resources across the European scientific community. At peak performance, there were more than 1,000 computers on the EDG test bed, sharing more than 15 Terabytes (15 million million bytes) of data at 25 sites across Europe, Russia and Taiwan. Grid resources were provided to over 500 scientists.
Julia Maddock | PPARC
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