Feature - Europe looks forward to the European Grid Initiative
The European grid community is thinking about the future. Today many of the grid projects that are co-funded by the European Commission are limited-term national projects. For stability, the research community using these grids needs a long-term body to oversee European grid computing infrastructure.
To this end, a workshop on the proposed European Grid Initiative was held in Munich on February 26-27, to discuss a EGI design project proposal to be submitted to the EU. The workshop was hosted by Deutsche Forschungsnetz, or DFN, the German research and education network, as part of their contribution to the EGEE project.
“EGI most likely will be a body whose constituency is the National Grid Initiatives currently in participating countries,” said Klaus Ullmann, General Manager of DFN and host of the workshop. “Close to thirty countries were represented at the workshop. They are very happy with the design project. It makes the process easier for them.”
A lot of these National Grid Initiatives (NGIs) such as GridIreland or Germany’s D-Grid, have already been set up in one or another way, with others in progress, and EGI will help to coordinate their work.
“The organisation should complement the NGIs’ work,” explained Ullmann, “it should add value to what the NGIs do.”
This model will be similar to models seen in the networking community. For example, several European national research and education networks collaborate with a central body to produce the pan-European GÉANT2 network. To start a similar organization focused on grid infrastructure, members of the grid community, in consultation with the European Commission, are preparing a proposal for an EGI Design Study. This will be a preparatory project designed to support the formation of NGIs and identify tasks for a future EGI.
“The next step is to deliver a draft of the plan for the Design Project by the end of March,” explained Dieter Kranzlmüller, leader of the EGI Design Project. This will give the NGIs an opportunity to comment on the project and provide letters of support. Kranzlmüller expects to submit the proposal in May.
“The purpose of this workshop was to initiate the planning process for all of this. The design project will be funded by the EU in one of the early calls of the Seventh Framework Programme. We can expect it to start at the end of the year. In the meantime we have to find ways to keep up the momentum we have built.”
- Owen Appleton