Feature - We must not be afraid of the future: EGEE to EGI
At last week’s Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE) conference in Istanbul, the audience received a piece of sound advice during the welcome address from the European Commission, eScience grids: Where does Europe stand?, delivered by Mário Campolargo: “We must not be afraid of the future.”
Within the European Grid Initiative (EGI), planning is underway for the implementation of a sustainable, pan-European grid infrastructure to support collaborative eScience. The building blocks of this infrastructure are national grid initiatives—autonomous, national grid bodies, able to mobilize their own national funding and computing resources and to support their own research communities.
The projected transition of grids from the current short-term, project-based approach to a new long-term model will require significant reorganization for the grid community; EGEE will no longer be the central organizing body for science grids within Europe. Careful planning is required to ensure a smooth transition from today’s EGEE-based infrastructure into the future EGI model.
“During the EGI sessions today I felt that while there are still issues that exist, there is a real willingness to move forward and, above all, a new sense of urgency,” says Bob Jones, project director of EGEE. “This comes from the recognition that the end of EGEE-III and other collaborating projects is really just around the corner. Even when the blueprint is in place, it's just the beginning, there is still much to be done.”
“At the same time, the media coverage generated by the Large Hadron Collider startup makes now an important time to act. Decision-makers and politicians have the LHC fresh in their minds— they can see why large infrastructure projects are important,” he adds.
Agreement by the EGI Policy Board to begin accepting bids for the location of the EGI organization marks a significant step forward. The EGI.org is expected to start operation in 2010.“Between now and Christmas, we need to come up with our transition plan,” says Jones. “This plan will outline how EGEE will move from where it is now to where it needs to be to fit in with the EGI planning.”
EGI Design Study project director Ludek Matyska notes that the transition must ensure continuation of the present grids and that it should also encourage wider adoption.
“Thanks to EGEE, and others, production grids are reality today,” says Dieter Kranzlmueller of Ludwig-Maximilians University. “EGI is not a simple continuation of EGEE but should offer a possible solution for all European grid infrastructure projects to achieve sustainability.”
—Danielle Venton, EGEE
Prepared with the help of the GridTalk project.