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Project no: IST-2003-511618

GridCoord
ERA Pilot on a co-ordinated Europe-wide Initiative in Grid Research
Instrument: Specific Support Action (SSA)

Sixth Framework Programme – Priority 2 - IST
Deliverable D.3.1.2
Survey of Activities in Universities and Research Labs

Due Date: 31 March 2005

Actual first submission date:

Start date of project: 1st July 2004 Duration: 24 months
Lead contractor: Marco Vanneschi

Organisation name: Università di Pisa, Italy Revision: V.1.1 - 14.11.2005

Project co-funded by the European Commission within the Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006)

Dissemination Level

PU

Public

Yes

PP

Restricted to other programme participants (including the Commission Services)




RE

Restricted to a group specified by the consortium (including the Commission Services)




CO

Confidential, only for members of the consortium (including the Commission Services)






Table of Contents


Executive Summary 3

Research in Software Technologies 3

Infrastructure 4

Exploitation of Grids in Applications 5

Statistics 5

Caveats 10

Conclusions and recommendations 10

France 11

Summary of activities 11

Description of the key projects 11

Local Activities 16

Summary of international activities 17

Germany 22

Summary of activities and strengths 22

Key projects 22

Hungary 27

Summary of activities and strengths 27

Key projects 27

Links to International and EU activities 31



Italy 32

Summary of activities and strengths 32

Key projects 32

Links to International and EU activities 35



The Netherlands 36

Key projects 36

Local activities 37

Summary of international activities 38



Poland 39

Summary of activities and strenghts 39

Key projects 40

Links to International and EU activities 44

Links to Industry and Business 45

Future Activities 45

Joint Initiatives and Projects 45

Spain 46

Research Lines 46

Key Projects 48

Local Activities 50

International Activities 51

Sweden 55

Summary of activities 55

Key projects 55

Local activities 56

International activities 57

UK 58

Summary of activities 58

Key projects 59

Local Activities 60

International Activities 62

Information Collection - Questionnaires 64

Method 64

Diffusion 64

Current status of the survey 64

Preliminary analysis 64

Future work 67

Appendix 68




Executive Summary


This GridCoord report contains a compendium of Grid research initiatives in European universities and research labs. This analysis is related to the recent and current projects on Grid Computing and to the possible industrial impact of this technology. It covers Grid applications being developed across Europe, research activities in software development tools and environments for next generation Grids and applications, and Grid middleware being used and produced. EU activities are correlated to those at the international level (GGF).

The document contains a chapter for each country that is represented by partners in the GridCoord project. Each chapter is organized as follows:



  • Summary of activities

  • Key projects

  • Local activities

  • International activities

This introductory section contains a summary of the activities presented in the national chapters, classified in three main areas:

  • Research in software technologies

  • Development of next generation grid infrastructure

  • Exploitation of Grids in applications

Research in Software Technologies


The basic software technologies that are needed to program Grids belong to two main areas, that have different levels of abstraction. Software development tools, either programming languages or libraries, assist the programmer in the development of complex grid applications, exploiting concepts and abstractions at the programmer level, leaving Grid management issues to the tools.

Grid Middlewares, instead, allow programmers or higher-level tools to handle all Grid related details: applications built on these middlewares can fully exploit the services offered by the chosen middleware and the unique properties of Grids that they present to the programming level.


Software development tools


Several tools and techniques are being studied to aid programmers and users in the development and exploitation of complex grid applications. They can be classified in three families:

  • General purpose programming environments like ASSIST (Italy), ProActive (France) and JGrid (Hungary) provide a comprehensive set of tools that simplify the programming of applications that are distributed on Local Area Networks (LAN), on cluster of workstations, or on Internet Grids;

  • Domain-specific development tools target specific needs of large communities: handling of biomedical requests on computing grids (IRIT, France), coupling HPC and Visualization (SGI Grid, Poland) or providing virtual laboratories for e-Science (VL-e, Nederland);

  • Interactive tools, i.e. grid portals (PROGRESS, Poland, and P-GRADE, Hungary) simplify the user interaction with Grid resources, enabling the execution of sequential, legacy programs on grids, as well as distributed programs that are explicitly designed to co-operate with the portal in order to fully exploit the grid.

Middleware


Middlewares are of the utmost importance, when speaking of Grid technologies, and often there is a tendency of labelling most of the Grid-related software technologies as middleware, even if it is not appropriate. A survey and a thorough discussion about middlewares is reported in the last chapter of this document, where several aspects of the surveyed data are analyzed. The most interesting classification is based on the kind of services that they provide (an excerpt follows):

  • General Grid Environments: Padico (Paco++), ProActive, UNICORE, P-GRADE, JGrid. These are “super-middleware”, which take care of practically all the Grid-related issues you might encounter when coding some application for a Grid.

  • Grid enablement: Pacx-mpi, geddm, caraml, paco++, and most database systems (cited later). These middleware do not allow all Grid possibilities, but transform a distributed code into code that can be deployed on a Grid.

  • Legacy code: Guigen, GEMLCA. These middleware take legacy code (code written long ago, that cannot be maintained, but still works) and wrap it to make it work on a Grid.

  • Components/GUI: Guigen, ICENI, COVISE, UNICORE, P-GRADE. This is maybe the next step towards easy programming: instead of writing lines of code, the user draws the structure of the program, by dragging modules together.

  • Database: GeneGrid, GEDDM, caraml (partly). Big databases may be geographically spread apart, and the treatment may need huge computing power. Grids help solve these problems.

  • Control/Supervision: mpich-v, marmot, sgas, InfoProviders [rather resource discovery], VISIT [creation of bridge compute/visual]. The middlewares enable some control over what's happening on the Grid, and give the maintainers of the Grid a view of what exactly is running on the Grid.

  • File Systems: GridLab, ftm, GridCast [BBC stream availability], MAPFS. An important feature of Grids is being able to have files accessible from every node of the infrastructure. This needs advanced file systems which may for example fetch files on the fly, and keep coherence between distant versions of the same file.

  • Communications: VISIT. Some advanced communication abilities are required on a Grid, like linking together simulation and visualization, or to translate from one application to another.

  • Service infrastructure: DIET.

  • Job submission: GridWay. Job control is a key issue of an efficient Grid structure: one needs to be able to run concurrent applications, allocate free nodes, and stop jobs which are too greedy.

  • Business Grid: GRASP. This is maybe the future of Grid middleware, targeted at making money with the concept, and providing services or facilities for a financial contribution.

The survey suggests that for the software tools belonging to General Grid Environments, that unify the handling of all the Grid-related tasks, from deployment to scheduling to monitoring, the term middleware can be an understatement. We think that some of them could better be listed in the software development tools category.


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