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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.3.1.1
Survey of Funding Bodies and Industry

Due Date: 31 March 2005

Actual first submission date: 28.06.2005

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

Organisation name: Università di Pisa, Italy Revision: V.2.0 - 20.10.2005

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

Analysis 6

Historical overview of Grid Research in GridCoord Countries 6

Grid Initiatives and Research Directions 9

Funding Summary 15

Member States Strategy and co-ordination 19

Industry and Business Involvement 20

Conclusion 22

Annex A - Austria 23

Short History 23

Research lines and approaches 23

Funding Structure and Co-ordination 24

Annex: current projects 24

Annex B - France 25

Short history of the Grid initiatives in the past 25

Research lines or approaches to the past or current initiatives 26

Funding structure and co-ordination 27

Annex: Tables of current projects for the French GRID 5000 Testbed 29

Annex C - Germany 32

History 32

Research Focus in the Past and Current 32

Funding Structure and Coordination 32

Recommendations 34

Annex: Projects 34



Annex D - Hungary 36

Short History 36

Research initiatives and approaches 36

Funding Structure and Co-ordination 37

Links to International and EU activities 38

Links to Industry and Business 39

Future Activities 40

Annex: Projects 40



Annex E - Italy 41

Short history of the Grid initiatives in Italy 41

Research lines and approaches to past and current initiatives 43

Funding structure and coordination 45

Annex: current projects and efforts 46

Annex F - The Netherlands 48

Short history of Grid initiatives 48

Informal view of research lines 48

Funding structures and coordination 49

Annex: current projects 50

Annex G - Poland 51

Short history 51

Research lines and approaches – past and current 51

Funding Structure and Co-ordination 52

Links to International and EU activities 53

Links to Industry and Business 53

Future Activities 53

Annex: Projects 53



Annex H - Spain 55

Short History 55

Future Initiatives 56

Funding Structure and Co-ordination 56

Annex - Current Projects and Investment 58

Annex I - Sweden 61

Short history 61

Research lines and approaches – past and current 61

Funding Structure and Co-ordination 61

Annex: Projects 62

Annex J - United Kingdom 63

History 63

Research Approach 63

Funding Structure and Coordination 65

Future Activities 67

Annex 67


Annex K - Grids in Industry 72

Assessment 72

Usage of and demand for Grids 72

Perspectives 73

Summary 73

Executive Summary


The first objective of the GridCoord project is to strengthen co-operation amongst the funding authorities in order to better co-ordinate the planning of future activities in the field of Grid research, an ERA objective. This GridCoord report contains a compendium of national Grid R&D initiatives in Europe, with special emphasis on the structures, initiatives and coordination actions at the level of funding bodies. This analysis is related to the recent and current projects on Grid Computing and to the possible industrial impact of this technology. The study builds on contributions from GridCoord partners in an attempt to define and size the present and future Grid computing space in the nine GridCoord countries. The study further includes findings from a workshop on Grid activities in European industry that was held at Stuttgart/Germany March 7-8, 2005 (Task 4.1.1) in order to better understand the usage of Grid in industry and its connection with publicly funded research.

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



  • Short history of the Grid initiatives

  • Research initiatives and approaches

  • Funding structure and contacts

  • Table summarizing current projects and efforts.

The report shows that the European countries have a prestigious research tradition in the areas that contributed “to build” the Grid technology - high-performance computing, parallel and distributed processing, networking infrastructures, software engineering in objects/components platforms, data base and knowledge discovery, cooperative computing, peer-to-peer computing -, as well as in the scientific application sectors: computational physics, high-energy physics, computational chemistry, life sciences, genomics, medicine, astrophysics, geophysics, earth observation systems, weather prediction, astrobiology, while some significant industrial and commercial applications are emerging.

In the second half of the 90s / at the beginning of 2000s, some important initiatives have beenwere started, notably UK e-Science, ACI Grid and Grid 5000 in France, Unicore in Germany. They have been followed, or accompanied, by other significant initiatives in The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Poland, Sweden, and Hungary.

Each country is characterized by specific institutions and structures to support and to co-ordinate research, notably at the level of Government and/or Research Institutions or Agencies that are described in the various chapters of this report.

In some countries, there has been a comprehensive national funding programme specifically for Grids, notably in UK and France. In many other cases, the co-ordination on Grid research has been through the spontaneous orientation of the research community exploiting public funds in ICT platforms/applications. However, in these cases there are some notable trends that could allow the various countries to achieve common Europe-wide strategies, leading to comprehensive and coherent funding programmes. One trend is related to recognition, by Governments or Research Institutions, of the role of informal co-ordination structures/committees, for example the D-Grid consortium in Germany.

In other cases, also according to the results of past/current projects and informal co-ordination of the scientific community, some Governments governments or Rresearch Institution institutions have launched specific initiatives oriented to achieve a coherent national strategy for funding Grid research and its industrial impact: notable examples are the countries where the Technological Platform / Quick Start approach has been followed, e.g. by the Italian Ministry for University and Research.

In industry the pickup of the Grid was much slower. This was shown in the discussions of the workshop held at Stuttgart in 2005 (Task 4.1.1). The main reasons here are that Grid was for long considered to be a research topic, hence industry was following a different path in order to meet user requirements of a broader market. The overall funding for Grid development in industry can therefore not be estimated but - as examples of software vendors show – has to be considered substantial.

The chapters of this report show that in all the Member States Grid Computing is considered a high-priority technology with strategic impacts on the development of research and on industrial and e-business applications. It must be pointed out that, though there have been important advances in basic technologies (such as infrastructures, programming interfaces and tools, scheduling and resource management techniques, monitoring, static analysis, and the such), much remains to be done in basic and applied research in Grid Computing in order that this technology will be successfully exploited at the industrial level: open middleware, operating systems, programming environments, composition of complex applications, security, data bases, vertical integration, as well as in standardization.

Though significant differences exist in the approaches currently applied in the various countries, the above mentioned initiatives and trends (that are described in detail in the following chapters) show that there are interesting opportunities in order to better co-ordinate Europe’s various, fragmented efforts towards achieving critical mass, the potential for a more visible impact at an international level, and strategic industrial impacts.


Key findings


  • Policy makers and stakeholders are generally well aware of the potential impact of Grid technology.

  • Difficult to get the funding information and to compare it (due to, e.g., different time-frames of the funding schemes), hidden agendas, high delays in the reception of information, concerns in sharing information, diversity preferred over a common co-ordinated approach.

  • Amount of funding hard to evaluate correctly (because of, e.g., different funding mechanism in the different countries), but considerable. An approximate, rough figure is 150M€/year (without EU funding).

  • Industrial exploitation still poor to marginal (a general European weakness), which contrasts with the breadth and significance of the potential opportunities.

  • Strengths:

  • Quality of the Researchers

  • Collaboration and communication among them

  • Weaknesses:

  • Fragmented programmes, which often follow an ivory tower approach linked to national funding schemes. Priority is given to national policies.

  • Appoach purely academic, with weak links to industry and business. Missing take-up and commercial exploitation.Difficult to get a clear picture on the funding information and to compare it, hidden agendas, concerns in sharing information, diversity preferred over a common co-ordinated approach.

  • Amount of funding hard to evaluate correctly, but considerable; different funding mechanism; an approximate figure is 150M€/year (without EU funding).

  • Industrial exploitation still poor to marginal, a general European weakness, while potential opportunity is broad and significant.

  • Strengths

  • Quality of the Researchers

  • Collaboration

  • Weaknesses

  • Fragmented programmes (ivory tower approach linked to national funding schemes); national policies have priorities

  • Purely Mostly academic, weak links to industry and business. Missing take-up and commercial exploitation.

Recommendations


  • Exploit emerging opportunities in building critical mass, make a better use of available funding.

  • Propose ERA-like common actions.

  • Get policy people involved in joint actions, and not only just researchers applying for funding. Aggregate collective intelligence.

  • Evaluate “Variable-geometry” cooperation between a limited number of MS.

  • Examine whether the EU budget is the best instrument for adding value or whether action would be better addressed at Member State level.

  • Exchange information on initiatives to promote the use and uptake of Grid technology (pilot projects, etc.) Invite appropriate members of government, industry, and research institutes and universities to attend relevant, high level meetings in order to ensure better communication.

  • Exploit emerging opportunities in building critical mass, better use of available funding.

  • Propose common actions ERA-like.

  • Get policy people involved in joint actions, not just researchers looking for funding. Aggregate collective intelligence.

  • Evaluate “Variable-geometry” cooperation between a limited number of MS.

  • Examine whether the EU budget is the best instrument for adding value or whether action would be better addressed at Member State level.

  • Exchange information on initiatives to promote the use and uptake of Grid technology (pilot projects, etc. Invite appropriate members to attend relevant meetings in order to ensure better communication.

  • Collaborate and liaise on programmes to promote education and training in the area of Grid technology.

  • Support high-risk, high-potential research like semantic service aggregation, autonomic Grid, Grid foundations




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