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July 9, 2008

  Announcement - Grid school shares resources Image courtesy of ICEAGE  Grid computing school shares teaching resources through digital library and behind-the-scenes blog  Anyone with Internet access can now share all the thrills and spills of the sixth International Summer School on Grid Computing, from 6-18 July in Hungary. The school is training approximately 40 students from 20 countries in the ways of grid computing—a technology that helps scientists tackle complex problems by combining the power of computers around the world to create a powerful, shared computing resource. In the spirit of shared resources, the school has made all of its teaching materials available to the public via the ICEAGE digital library. Further, the school has invited a team of GridCast bloggers to blog live from behind the scenes, ensuring that the excitement of the school is also shared with those learning from home.“My experience at ISSGC’07 was profoundly worthwhile and eye opening,” says past student Andrew

July 9, 2008

Link of the week - People behind the projects Clockwise from top left: Andoena Balla, University of Cyprus; Aaron Pondayi Masina, Chinhoyi University of Technology; Asterios Katsifodimos; University of Cyprus; Peter Hobson, Brunel University.Images courtesy of GridCafe Grid computing isn't faceless, nameless, sterile technology. Real people make it tick.  Who are these people and what makes THEM tick? Find out on CERN's GridCafé Web page People behind the projects. You'll find dancers, runners, music lovers, doting parents, cyclists, shoppers and pilots. People who felt their drive towards computers early in life and others who at the age of five envisioned a life under the hot sun in a tractor. People who want to bring opportunities and prosperity to their part of the world. People who love computers and think the grid is cool. People looking for the quickest path to discovery. People inspired by Ian Foster, by brain drain, by the Matrix.It really takes all kinds.  And what kind are you?  GridCa

July 2, 2008

Image of the week - Fun factoids “We report, you decide.”Image courtesy of YouTube“Developers of the grid say the net will be obsolete . . . ” “You'll be able to download a full-length feature film in seconds.” “The first test (of the grid) is this gigantic atom-smasher. Assuming it won’t blow up the world, which there is some talk it will do . . .”These were just some of the things said about the grid in a 2-minute story on a well-known cable news channel whose motto is “Fair and Balanced.”However, it is fun to watch what feels like a physics version of the spoof ‘news’ program The Daily Show.But we shouldn’t pick on any one media outlet. engadget summed up some of the more outrageous coverage with the headline “CERN creates a new super-fast internet, invites tons of people to a deathmatch.”In an effort to set the record straight—and give at least some credit wher

June 25, 2008

  Image of the week - Letting off steam Everyone needs a little release now and then, even at OGF23, where members of the BEinGrid project took time out one afternoon to demonstrate their skills at tae kwon do in a conference room, while grid-releated slides flickered in the background. Photographer Sergio Andreozzi declined to participate—but did take pictures, which he then put on his blog and on the GridTalk website as a GridCast and as a slide show. (Hint: if you click through them really fast, they look like a slow-motion sequence in a Jackie Chan movie.) Image courtesy of Sergio Andreozzi, Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), CNAF    

June 18, 2008

  Announcement - Louisiana State University’s Ed Seidel to Head NSF’s Office of Cyberinfrastructure Ed Seidel Image courtesy of LSU/CCT  BATON ROUGE – The National Science Foundation has selected astrophysicist Edward Seidel as its director of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure, where he will oversee advances in supercomputing, high-speed networking, data storage and software development on a national level.Seidel, who is Floating Point Systems Professor in the LSU Departments of Physics & Astronomy and Computer Science and also is director of the LSU Center for Computation & Technology, will begin this position Sept. 1, 2008. While directing the NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure, Seidel will retain his faculty positions as well as his affiliation with CCT at LSU.The NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure coordinates and supports the acquisition, development and provision of state-of-the-art cyberinfrastructure resources, tools and services, which are essential to 21st-century science and engineering r

June 18, 2008

  Announcement - Promote your grid people with GridTalk We’re sure you can find interesting people in your organization. Image courtesy of OSG, EGEE and GridPP  An exciting opportunity has opened up for grid projects and people to promote their work as part of the new GridTalk project. This is a fantastic chance to quickly and easily disseminate information about your grid site and projects to a global audience.Simply fill out the profile and send it to Cristy Burne of the GridTalk project by 27 June 2008. Please have fun with the profiles: the information should aim to show the real people behind grid technology.Submitted profiles will be used by GridTalk in the Resources section of International Science Grid This Week (iSGTW), in the GridCafé website, and in the GridGuide (to be incorporated with the Real Time Monitor), a new and interactive 3D application that allows users to learn more about grid computing around the world. These sites receive many thousands of hits every day: don’t miss this ex

June 4, 2008

  Link of the week – GridCast hooks bloggers at OGF23, 2-6 June, Barcelona Live from the forum, it’s the podcasters. Image courtesy of GridTalk Bloggers are providing a sneak-peek behind the scenes of the 23rd Open Grid Forum, held this week in Barcelona, Spain. They are part of a grid podcast, or GridCast, that allows readers to virtually share in the forum, as if they were really there on-site.Coordinated by the GridTalk project, the GridCast includes podcast interviews as well as a blog, and is being produced live from the forum, an event with more than 400 participants. “It provides a more personal outlook on all the valuable information, sessions and talks taking place at OGF23,” says Wolfgang Gentzsch, program chair. “We want to make readers feel as though they are here, as part of the event,” explains blogger Cristy Burne, coordinator for the GridTalk project. “It’s a ‘no-holds-barred’ look at what real people here are saying about gr

June 4, 2008

Profile - Paola Celio: ARGO, ATLAS and growing the grid Some of the places Paola Celio has been are quite remote, as in the site of the Argo-YBJ gamma-ray detection experiment, located in Tibet, 90 km north of Lhasa.Image courtesy of Paola Celio Paola Celio, like many “grid people,” got her start in particle physics. Now a technical engineer at the Department of Physics at the Roma Tre University, and associated with the Italian National Nuclear Physics Institute, Celio has moved from physics to grid hardware and software, attracted by the tremendous potential of the field. “I started working with grids because I was interested in using something that involves many people, and because it is a field that is evolving very quickly,” Celio explains. “Grids are still in their infancy, but with them we can create a very different future. If we are successful, ultimately the whole scientific community will be able to use grids as just one more tool.”Celio is very keen to pass on her knowledge of grids.

May 14, 2008

  Feature - Hello, Einstein residence … Why yes, he’s home! Albert Einstein (c) Camera Press, K. of Ottawa In 1916 Albert Einstein postulated that our universe is pulsing with gravitational waves created by the gyrations of black holes, neutron stars and other cosmic colossi. Nearly a century later, these waves’ existence has yet to be confirmed.The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, LIGO, will detect the ripples in space-time using controlled laser light to precisely measure the time it takes light to travel between suspended mirrors. In celebration of the World Year of Physics 2005 honoring this great scientist, and with the support of the American Physical Society and international organizations, LIGO launched Einstein@home, modeled after SETI@home, to attract CPU power to their data-intensive search. Volunteers all over the world have been downloading Einstein@home and collectively processing about one terabyte per day of LIGO’s data on their home computers. Th

May 7, 2008

  Link of the week - Old friends and new: iSGTW, GridCafé, GridTalk and more The GridTalk project harnesses the successes of existing grid communication projects International Science Grid This Week and GridCafé, creating a central hub for European grid communications. GridTalk will also tackle new missions dedicated to deciphering grid policy and showcasing the human face of grid computing.Images courtesy of GridTalk A new editorial team...A big welcome to Dan Drollette and Anne Heavey, who will be producing all-new editions of iSGTW as of next week. Dan comes from a strong background in science journalism and Anne has been an iSGTW contributing editor since our launch. Both are keen to hear your grid-related news and announcements so please drop them a line anytime.A new partner and project...And welcome to EU project GridTalk. Co-funded by the European Commission, GridTalk was launched last week and aims to create a unified and cohesive approach to European grid communications. The projec

April 23, 2008

Announcement - Open Science Grid launches effort to build new cyber communities OSG and RENCI already work extensively to introduce new communities to grid technology. This visualization, which was generated by the OSG-powered nanowire tool on nanoHUB, shows the electrostatic potential of a 26 nanometer long, 5 nanometer thick nanowire.  Image courtesy of Gerhard Klimeck, NanoWire The Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), an Open Science Grid partner, will lead an effort to involve more university research teams and more campuses in using cyberinfrastructure as a tool for research and discovery. The National Science Foundation awarded RENCI US$995,796 over three years to assist research communities and campuses in using the distributed resources of the Open Science Grid (OSG). The award, effective 1 April 2008, calls for use of an embedded immersive engagement (EIE) effort to immerse teams of researchers in the concepts and technologies needed to become skilled users of OSG resources. OSG is a consortium of universiti

April 23, 2008

  Opinion - International Summer School on Grid Computing: looking back, one year on Thanks to his ISSGC’07 experience, Andrew Jamieson and his colleagues are actively pursuing the possibility of gridifying aspects of their medical research work.Image courtesy of Andrew Jamieson Deadlines for the 2008 International Summer School on Grid Computing close on 5 May. Here, former student Andrew Jamieson reflects on his experiences at the 2007 summer school, held in Sweden. In 2007, with the aid of the Open Science Grid, I attended the International Summer School on Grid Computing in Sweden. Today, just over a year later, I am still involved in grid computing.My scientific background as a medical physicist researcher involves developing accurate computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) algorithms for breast mass lesions in X-ray mammography, ultra sound and MRI images. My colleagues and I are interested in using grid computing to push CAD and image analysis to a new level of exploratory power and scientific evalua

April 16, 2008

Feature - AMI is watching: making the most of your meetings AMI’s engagement tool increases the sense of presence for users who join a meeting by cellphone: the cartoon images dynamically indicate who is looking at whom during the meeting.Images courtesy of the AMI Consortium Can you quickly catch up on a meeting for which you are late? Can you easily track back through meeting archives to discover why a particular decision was taken? These are some of the key questions addressed by the AMI Consortium, a project using grid computing to better understand human communication in meetings.Technology to enhance collaborationWhen people meet, their communication is spread across a number of modalities: the spoken word, gestures, postures, intonation and timing. AMI aims to capture these signals using an instrumented meeting room, equipped with multiple video cameras and microphones, along with devices to capture handwriting, whiteboard activity and projected data. The AMI project makes sense of the captured s

April 16, 2008

  Images of the week - CERN Open Day draws tens of thousands The GridCafé provided a friendly spot for visitors to learn about grid technology, discover the history of computing at CERN, take the challenge of grid-themed computer games, explore interactive grid maps, hot coffees, cakes and more.Image courtesy of Anton Topurov GridCafé volunteers answered the big questions for visitors from all over the world, explaining the difference between grid technology and the Internet and sharing the different ways in which grid technology is helping to fast-track scientific research.Image courtesy of Anton Topurov Volunteers showcased emerging technologies including GridMap (CERN openlab/EDS), a visualization that shows the status of different sites in the Worldwide Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid. Green indicates the site is “OK,” orange indicates degraded service and red indicates that the site is down.Image courtesy of Anton Topurov The CERN Computer Centre, just prior to

March 5, 2008

  Resources - Getting started with grid computing: engage with OSG The OSG Engagement team worked with the NanoWire community to grid-enable their research. This visualization—generated by the OSG-powered nanowire tool on nanoHUB—shows the electrostatic potential of a 26 nanometer long, 5nanometer thick nanowire.  Image courtesy of Gerhard Klimeck, NanoWire Grid computing can turbo-boost your research—many scientists are now aware of this fact. However, getting started in grid computing is not as easy as hitting the “warp-speed” button on your desktop. New users must adapt their applications and their mindset if they are to thrive in the grid environment. This process requires time, energy and qualified, dedicated help. So who’re you gonna call?Engage with OSG Hear from the users See eye-to-eye at CI days  Engage with OSG If you’re getting started in the U.S., Open Science Grid, with its fully supported “Engagement” activity, is a good place to start. &ld

February 27, 2008

  Feature - Les Robertson: six years at the head of the LCG Les Robertson in 2001, “just before it [the LCG project] started,” and in 1974, when he first arrived at CERN.Images courtesy of Les Robertson In this special feature iSGTW chats to Les Robertson, who recently stepped down after six years at the head of the Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid.A hole in the funding bucket Democratic and global The Grid Challenges so far: the big three Our challenges for the future Countdown to startup In the beginning Les Robertson arrived at CERN in 1974 to fix a problem. The European physics research laboratory had just purchased a new supercomputer. The problem, says Robertson, was that it didn’t work.“At that time customers fixed their own operating systems,” he explains. “I arrived as an operating systems expert and stayed on.”Twenty-seven years later, Robertson began work on an entirely different problem: Preparations for the Large Hadron Collider were well underway, but the comput

February 27, 2008

Link of the week - Secrets, lies and knowing thy customerGenevieve Bell speaks on “Secrets, lies & the possible perils of truthful technology.”Courtesy of LIFTHow old are you really? Where were you born? Why are so many MySpace users aged over 100? And why are so many online daters young, lithe and driving sports cars?  These are some of the questions Genevieve Bell is employed to ask. Bell is Intel’s Director of User Experience, an anthropologist leading a team of social scientists in their mission to learn more about people—how they live, what motivates them—and as illustrated in this presentation, why they lie.Appearing at the LIFT conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Bell discusses the intricacies and motivations of secrets, lies and cyberspace, asking the big questions: If self-deception a required part of human survival? Are lies and secrets inherently different? How much of your life is shaped by the IT applications you use? And why does Intel employ anthropologists?Tailored services Perha

January 30, 2008

Announcement -  Open Grid Forum launches Grid Thought Leadership series The Thought Leadership Series calls for new ideas, opinions and perspectives on grid and distributed computing.Stock image from The Open Grid Forum (OGF) recently launched its new on-line Thought Leadership Series to give thought leaders in grid and distributed computing the opportunity to express their ideas, opinions and perspectives. The series aims to stimulate discussion and provoke lively debate on a broad range of topics and issues facing the grid and distributed computing community. Wolfgang Gentzsch, coordinator of the German D-Grid Initiative; Geoffrey Fox and Marlon Pierce, from the Community Grids Laboratory at Indiana University; and Ian Foster from Argonne National Lab and the University of Chicago, kick-off the series with articles that provide a flavor of the diverse subject matter OGF hopes to address. Gentzsch’s article outlines the Top 10 Rules for Building a Sustainable Grid in his highly informative and practical

December 19, 2007

  Feature - Behind the scenes with Mission Control: project managing massive grid projects Some of the faces that keep grid projects rolling ahead.Images courtesy of Open Science Grid and EGEEBehind every megabyte there is a mega-bit of teamwork.And behind every data delivery there is a project deliverable. Who coordinates these distributed computing projects, with their distributed partners and distributed priorities? iSGTW heads to Mission Control to find out. Chander Sehgal – Project Associate for Open Science Grid Anna Cook – Project Administration for Enabling Grids for E-sciencE   Chander Sehgal: “We have a shared mission, and that’s where the power of this collaboration comes from.”Images courtesy of Open Science Grid  Chander Sehgal – Open Science GridWhat is your role with OSG? I joined Open Science Grid in January 2007 and handle OSG’s project and budget management. We’re a medium-sized project employing several dozen people, and there are

December 19, 2007

  Feature - Grids don’t take vacation A big thanks to those who are giving up their time over the end of year break to keep grids all over the world on-line.Image adapted from While the rest of us are on vacation, enjoying a snowy (or scorching) end of year break, the grids we depend on keep crunching through jobs, sending a stream of data around the world. In fact, the end of year break sees many grid services working harder than ever. How does it happen? iSGTW took time off from our own hectic holiday schedule to see what goes on while the users’ away. Nicholas Thackray – CERN grid services Frank Würthwein – Open Science Grid applications coordinator Nicholas Thackray – CERN grid servicesOur users rely on continual service, even when they’re away on vacation. If this stops working we’re going to have a queue of people at the door, all wanting to beat us over the head with a stick. Previously things were so brand new that it was difficult to have an emergency prese

December 19, 2007

Image of the week - Postcard from holiday: wish you were here iSGTW editor-in-chief Cristy Burne has left the building.  iSGTW will be back with more news and views from the international grid community on 9 January 2008.iSGTW is taking a two-issue end of year break. Our next issue will come out 9 January 2008. Since iSGTW’s launch we have covered more than 250 stories from the grid community, welcoming writers from all over Europe and the U.S. as well as Australia, Malaysia, Russia and more, and covering stories from areas as far afield as Africa, Brazil, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and Thailand. Wherever you are, we would love to hear from you and your grid or distributed computing project: please feel free to send us your contributions.Meanwhile, many thanks for your support over 2007. Have a happy and safe end of year break, and we look forward to working with you again in the New Year.Best wishes,the iSGTW team

December 12, 2007

  Learn: Get on the grid with OSG Education Alina Bejan, coordinator of OSG Education Outreach and Training, would love to hear from those interested in using grid computing to power their research.Images courtesy of iSGTW Grid school veteran Ben Clifford has been involved with grids since 2000. He’s been teaching new users how to benefit from grid computing since 2002. Today, after teaching two one-day Open Science Grid workshops as part of the SC07 Education Program, Clifford sees many familiar faces in the SC07 crowd. Not all of them are new. “It’s very satisfying to see people I taught many years ago,” he says. “Many of them are working in grids or working to promote grid technology. It’s great to stay involved with such motivated people. They are still keen to learn more about how to lever grids for the benefit of their research or their students.” This enthusiasm is essential to becoming involved in grid computing, says Clifford.

December 5, 2007

  Feature - The world’s climate data from a one-stop-shop In the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, data from various models and sources were combined to project the future climate. This image shows Scenario A1B: simulated mean temperature change relative to 1980-1999.Image © DKRZ / IPCC DDCHow can you study something as interconnected as climate without using interconnected models? This was one of the biggest questions facing Kerstin Ronneberger during her early research in earthsystem science modeling.When Ronneberger found an opportunity to get into grid computing, she was immediately interested. “I wanted to study the human influence on climate change,” she explains, “which involved coupling models of biosphere, economy and climate to get a consistent simulation of their dynamic interactions. Without access to grids the relevant data was often hard to obtain and even harder to combine”“In earthsystem science, everyone is using a different system to st

November 28, 2007

  Feature - The path more travelled by: grids help track human migration Nicolas Ray uses Approximate Bayesian Computation—developed in 2002—to track the migration of humans through the centuries.Images courtesy of Rakesh Rampertab Today, families interested in an intercontinental move will probably go by plane, train or automobile. Several thousand years ago, adventurers had a harder time of it. Thanks to the plucky, pioneering efforts of early families, humans have managed to explore and settle every habitable region of the globe. Surviving the “bottlenecks” Two ancient migrations have particularly affected the shape of future generations: the “Out of Africa” event and the North to South colonization of the Americas. These migrations left traces in our genes still observable today. Described as “bottlenecks”—events where only a few individuals get through—the migrations may have caused a drastic reduction in population size and a corresponding drop

November 21, 2007

  Feature - PRIUS: a global university for a borderless future Susumu Date coordinates the PRIUS project, which aims to create strong leaders for next-generation distributed IT.Image courtesy of iSGTW Grid computing is as much about people as it is about computers, and international success requires leaders who can work globally and cooperatively in their field.This is the philosophy behind the PRIUS project, an initiative led by Osaka University, Japan, with the aim of promoting internationalization in grid education.PRIUS, or the Pacific Rim International UniverSity, relies on hands-on practical collaboration with research institutions and universities from Pacific Rim countries, mainly through the Pacific Rim Application and Grid Middleware Assembly, better known as PRAGMA. “PRIUS aims to develop competent leaders in integrated science,” says Associate Professor Susumu Date, who is heavily involved in the project. “We are developing an educational framework that will allow our students to learn advanced