Who is LitGrid, as it is known, and what do they do?
LitGrid brings together 13 research centers and universities in a program sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Education of Lithuania. Officially known as the ‘Lithuanian distributed and parallel computing and e-services,’ LitGrid was established in 2008, with Vilnius University as the leading partner and representative in the European Grid Infrastructure (EGI). Two years on, with 17 computing clusters and 90 active users, LitGrid is getting ready to be one of the organizers of the EGI User Forum, to be held on 11–14 April in Vilnius.
Bidding for the event was a natural decision: “It is crucial for us to be involved much deeper in EGI activities and to learn the European experience in grid technology, as well as in similar technologies like cloud computing and HPC,” said Algimantas Juozapavicius, LitGrid’s project manager.
LitGrid was set up as a project in 2005 “to develop the research computing and communication infrastructure in Lithuania, and to integrate this infrastructure into the emerging European Grid and Baltic Grid infrastructure,” Juozapavicius said.
Nowadays, LitGrid operates over 500 processors, with over 30 terabytes storage capacity for the benefit of a growing user base covering numerous research areas. Current scientific applications include modelling of heterogeneous processes in biology, quantum mechanics, material science, analysis and visualization of multidimensional biomedical data and astrophysics.
“Usually our users publish about 20–40 scientific articles each year, with data or results obtained with the help of the grid,” he added. The articles were published in journals such as the Journal of Nanomaterials, Nonlinear Analysis: Modelling and Control, and the Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society.
LitGrid is also involved in the analysis, design and test deployment of cloud computing technology in relation to grids. The Lithuanian infrastructure runs mainly on gLite middleware, but several other operational systems are under consideration, including KnowARC, Globus, UNICORE and CREAM. All LitGrid clusters have EGI certified status and are monitored both globally, with GSTAT, SAM, Stress Test monitors, and locally with Ganglia and Nagios. Lithuania’s user support is based on a request tracking workflow managed by a ticketing system.
Despite all the recent progress, LitGrid keeps looking forward and the search for new users never stops: “The aim is to develop the symbiosis of grid-cloud computing, as well as to offer our services to a broader spectrum of society, including academics, public sector and business,” he said.
With this goal in mind, Lithuania is creating a Digital Science and Computing Center (DiSCC) at Vilnius University. The aim is to enable knowledge transfer and the application of research to business and foster innovation in digital products.
“DiSCC is expected to be translated into an international centre, attractive for computer scientists, industry, foreign partners and for the state as a customer, helping them to digitize areas of activities by using the most suitable scientific and technological initiatives,” stated Juozapavicius.