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Feature - EMI, home to middleware

Feature - EMI, home to middleware

Photo courtesy EMI

Who will look after distributed computing middleware in the European Grid Infrastructure-era?

A new project is poised to become the answer to that question.

The goal of the European Middleware Initiative (EMI)l is to pull together the best middleware experts in Europe. Working together, they will improve and standardize the dominant existing services to produce simplified and interoperable middleware.

Specifically, the experts that it will work with come from ARC (a product of NorduGrid), gLite (EGEE’s product), Unicore and dCache.

EMI will be the major software provider for EGI, empowering the EGI infrastructure with more stable, useable and manageable software.

“The innovation in EMI is that for the first time the major middleware producers in Europe are working together in the same project to produce the actual middleware used by the major infrastructures, like EGI and PRACE,” says Alberto Di Meglio, EMI project director.

Most of the people involved come from the established community, so EMI preserves the expertise created by previous projects. EMI will also care for the support and maintenance of the existing middleware, but with the precise objective of improving it over the three years of the project so that it becomes something that the scientific research communities can dependon in their day-to-day work.

“The middleware as it is today is complex and it has some usability issues,” says Di Meglio. “The goal of EMI is to make middleware easy to use. After three years of the project, the EMI software will hopefully become part of standard operating system distributions — part of a set of standards homogenous across Europe and the world.”

EMI just launched in May 2010, with funding for three years.

—Danielle Venton, EGEE

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