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November 14, 2007

Announcement - 4th BELIEF brainstorming session: 26-27 November, Edinburgh, UK BELIEF, or Bringing Europe's eLectronic Infrastructures to Explanding Frontiers, will hold an invitation-only brainstorming session in Edinburgh this month. Expressions of interest in attending are now open.Image courtesy of Peter Tuffy, University of Edinburgh Persons interested in recieving an invitation to the fourth BELIEF Brainstorming event on e-Education and new e-Infrastructures Communities can now register their interest. The event will take place in Edinburgh, UK, from 26-27 November 2007 at the National E-Science Centre, in collaboration with High Throughput Computing Week. The BELIEF event will take advantage of its skilled and expert audience to examine e-education and how new community members can benefit from its use through developed infrastructures. The event will also highlight the diversity that einfrastructures can bring to e-education by showcasing practical examples. This outreach event, which looks to tap into re

November 14, 2007

  Images of the week - Scenes from SC07 Pumping at the pinnacle of energy, innovation and computing power, SC07 is serving up the latest and greatest in IT to a record crowd this week in Reno, Nevada.Image courtesy of Douglas Mansell The Stony Brook University team are all smiles just prior to beginning their 44-hour race against the clock and five other undergraduate teams as part of the Cluster Challenge.Image courtesy of Douglas Mansell The Enabling Grids for E-sciencE stand showcases the achievements of EGEE, a project which brings together partners from 45 countries to create a grid strongly focused on interoperability and accessibility.Image courtesy of Jerry Newton Photography The Fermilab team, members of Open Science Grid, are demonstrating high bandwidth Tier-1 to Tier-2 LHC data transmission. The OSG duck can be found on OSG member stands throughout the exhibition.Image courtesy of John Urish Projects including AstroGrid, OMII, National Grid Service, NaCTeM, the London e-Science Centre and GridPP are highl

November 14, 2007

  Opinion - Celebrating one year of International Science Grid This Week iSGTW celebrates one year of reporting on grid computing initiatives across the globe. In the last six months, visits to the iSGTW Web site have increased almost six-fold and are continuing to rise. Images courtesy of iSGTWThis issue, International Science Grid This Week celebrates its first anniversary. Since our launch last year, interest in grids, cyberinfrastructure and distributed computing has skyrocketed. As one indicator, visits to the site have increased almost six-fold over the last six months. The number of scientists using grid computing is also increasing, as is the level of resources now available to them.In the last year, the number of jobs run on the UK’s GridPP has more than doubled to approach one million jobs during October 2007. Altogether, in the last twelve months GridPP computers have run the equivalent of 26 million normalized CPU hours.The Open Science Grid e-infrastructure is now averaging 80,000 jobs a day&md

November 14, 2007

  Opinion - Me, my friends, our grid: bringing people together for great science “The biggest challenges in grid technology are not technological; they’re social. Building new communities is as important as building new computer centers.” Image courtesy of Graham Ramsay Frank Würthwein is a particle physicist with University of California San Diego and a user of Open Science Grid. He is also the OSG applications coordinator and a member of the CMS collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider, and says grids are as much about sociology as they are about science.As the clock ticks towards startup for the Large Hadron Collider, particle physics draws ever closer to what many hope will be a revolution for the field: a giant step forward in our understanding of the universe.For many physicists, the greatest fear is that we will find the Higgs Boson, and that in the wake of this success, nothing will change. More exciting, more fascinating, is the possibility that finding the Higgs will bring with it a new pa

November 7, 2007

  Feature - I’m being shadowed: voices from the GAP Eleven female staff from CERN’s IT department were kept under close surveillance yesterday, shadowed by female students from a local high school as part of the Enabling Grids for E-sciencE project. The Shadowing Day aimed to inspire young women into careers in information technology by passing on the message that careers in science are open to both men and women, and can be rewarding and fun.The students were given a tour of physics experiment ATLAS and the CERN Computer Centre, as well as the opportunity for one-on-one interaction with CERN IT staff.  Traditionally, fewer women work in the IT sector; women currently represent 21% of EGEE staff. The Shadowing Day was held as part of the EGEE Gender Action Plan, reflecting a commitment to reducing this gender gap. Other initiatives include the adoption of best practices and equal opportunity policies for EGEE and collaborating projects.iSGTW headed to CERN to hear from those involved in the Shadowing Day

November 7, 2007

Resources - Women in information technology Help turn traditional stereotypes on their head.Sticker image and design © Jinx, Inc The percentage of women in IT has declined from 41 percent in 1996 to 32 percent in 2004,1 with women comprising only 3 to 5 percent of senior management positions.2 What's going on? Find out more, access new resources and be inspired:GHC Women in Computing conferenceFocused on the research and career interests of women in computing, the 2007 conference was held last month and attracted 1400 women and men from 22 countries. The 8th GHC Women in Computing conference will be held 1-4 October 2008 in Denver, Colorado, U.S. Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology“Writing women into technical history,” the Anita Borg Institute coordinates a number of activities including the TechLeaders program, the Women of Vision Awards and the Systers email community, which comprises 2700 members in at least 54 countries. Also on offer are some great mentoring resources and inform

October 31, 2007

  Feature - Massively multi-player “killer” grid applications edutain@grid will use grid technologies to create a new class of “killer” applications, designed to provide real-time computation and communication for thousands of concurrently interacting gamers.Image courtesy of Darkworks Pac-man, Tetris, Space Invaders...Super Mario Brothers, Grand Theft Auto, Doom...Love them or loathe them, computer games have gone hand-in-hand with IT innovation for more than 30 years, capturing the imagination and devotion of millions.Isn’t it time for grid computing to get on board?edutain@grid is doing just that. Next-generation grid-powered edutainmentTargeting the online gaming and training communities, edutain@grid aims to extend existing grid technologies to create a next-generation massively multi-player first-person shooter game, based on an existing game created by project partner Darkworks.Current technology means online multi-player games are either fast, action games with few players, or slower adve

October 10, 2007

  Feature - Electing for transparency: politics, grid computing and partisan gerrymandering Ternary plot of Bush versus Gore as run in the precincts constituting Texas Congressional District 24 in 2000.  Larger dots indicate more populous precincts; brighter shades indicate a greater Gore share of the two-party vote.  If one drops an imaginary vertical line from the Hispanic vertex to the bisector of the triangle’s bottom leg, one sees that, generally, most non-Hispanic voters in predominantly Hispanic districts were white voters.  If white voters in predominantly Hispanic precincts voted more Democratic than white voters in predominantly white precincts, aggregation bias could affect the estimates of the preferences of Hispanic voters, who turned out in low percentages.Image courtesy of Crimson Grid A few months after arriving at Harvard Law School, Assistant Professor Jim Greiner turned to computer scientists at the nearby School of Engineering and Applied Sciences for some legal power—of a sort. H

October 3, 2007

  Feature - EGEE ’07 stresses opportunities for cooperation, commercialization and continued innovation “In five years 80 percent of all scientific papers in all areas will be made in virtual laboratories. Fifty percent of social science documents will go the same way in five to ten years.” Ulf Dahlsten stressed the invaluable role of cyberinfrastructure in science.Images courtesy of Toth Csilla   This week’s EGEE ’07 conference is being held in the wake of a record-breaking quarter for the Enabling Grids for E-sciencE consortium, which has supported 100,000 jobs a day for the last three months using a grid infrastructure spanning 41,000 CPUs. Collaborators from 45 countries worked to achieve these results, combining the resources of 250 computing centers to create the EGEE grid. This kind of cooperation is the key to EGEE’s continued success, according to many of the conference’s plenary speakers.  “We cannot be good at everything,” said Ilona Vass, vice-president

September 19, 2007

  Announcement - David Moses joins PSC as executive director Image courtesy of Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center David Moses, co-founder and former chief operating officer of Gaussian, Inc., has joined the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center as executive director.Moses fills the position vacated by the March retirement of Beverly Clayton, who was PSC’s executive director since its founding in 1986.Moses will manage the day-to-day internal operations of PSC, overseeing a scientific and technological staff of about 75 people.“I welcome the opportunity to be actively involved in this innovative and challenging work,” said Moses. “PSC is a leader in high-performance computing and networking and a vital resource in the Pittsburgh region and the state of Pennsylvania.”The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is a leading partner in TeraGrid and is a joint effort between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh together with Westinghouse Electric Company.   

September 19, 2007

Link of the week - Facetooth? Now you can share more than ever before with your friends.Stock image from sxc.huOfficially known as Cityware, although already earning an online reputation as Facetooth, this technology is the brainchild of scientists at Bath University in the UK, who have blended Bluetooth with Facebook to produce a physical map of where your webby pals are at any time.Cityware works by using various nodes that search the local area for Bluetooth devices, grab the IDs for these devices and then match them up with Facebook profiles. Bingo! You know who it is across the street, what they did on Friday night and their favorite flavor of icecream.Nodes have been set up in Bath, University College London and the University of California in San Diego. More nodes are planned for Sweden, Hong Kong and Sydney. If not incredibly useful, Cityware is at least very interesting. It’s part of a multidisciplinary research project into distributed systems, human-computer interactions and pervasive computing in urban spac

September 12, 2007

  Announcement - CNRS launches Institut des Grilles The new Institut des Grilles will federate CNRS work on production and research grid computing. Image courtesy of CNRS The French Centre National De La Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) has just announced the creation of a new Institut des Grilles (Grids Institute), which federates all CNRS actions concerning computing grids and distributed computing systems. More than 15 CNRS laboratories from four scientific departments and two national institutes are taking part in the new institute, which aims to consolidate the existing grid production infrastructures, to reinforce research in grid computing and to increase synergy between the various stakeholders.  

September 12, 2007

Announcement - Grids and e-Science course: 24-28 September, Santander, Spain The port city of Santander is on the north coast of Spain.Image courtesy of Maria Victoria Gomez Fernandez Registration is now open for Grids and e-Science 2007, a course organized by the Spanish National Research Council and held from 24-28 September at Instituto de Física de Cantabria in Santander, Spain.The course program gives an overview of the current status of grid infrastructure and covers morning presentations and afternoon practical sessions. Monday and Tuesday’s programs deal with the use and deployment of e-infrastructures based on gLite and will cover an Enabling Grids for E-sciencE tutorial as well as developments related to Globus Toolkit 4. There will be speakers from IFCA, Rediris, Barcelona Supercomputer Center and University Complutense of Madrid. Wednesday will cover middleware with a focus on the problems of resource allocation, monitoring and general broking and scheduling on the grid. University of Barcelona develo

September 5, 2007

Link of the week - SciVee: YouTube for scientists? Science publishing goes podcast: SciVee provides the chance for scientists to communicate their results via webcast video.Image courtesy of SciVeeYour moment of scientific pop-glory could be here!Your research results need no longer be hidden away in university libraries or relegated to inch-thick papers. Instead, you can tout your breakthroughs directly to the masses using what some are describing as a YouTube for scientists: SciVee. Using SciVee, scientists have the chance to upload short videos along with their papers, publish podcasts featuring their work, join science groups and create professional profiles.The videos and podcasts provide the opportunity for researchers to bypass any offputting jargon and technical dressing by communicating their results directly—person to person.In this way, visitors to SciVee can get a quick overview of a variety of scientific research, delivered by the researchers themselves, making it easier for fellow scientists and the general publi

August 29, 2007

Announcement - National Science Foundation fellowships, partnerships and research experiences PIRE project scientists and students from the United States and Russia in the field at Mutnovsky Volcano in Kamchatka, Russia.Image courtesy of John Eichelberger, University of Alaska The U.S. National Science Foundation provides a number of grants promoting the participation of U.S. scientists and students in international research projects and collaborations, many of which are well suited to grid-powered partnerships.A sample of their offerings is detailed below:International Research Experiences for Students Due: 15 September and 15 February, annually, for activities beginning at least six months after the target dateEligibility: Proposals may be submitted by a U.S. institution, organization, or professional society.IRES provide high quality educational experiences for groups of U.S. undergraduate and/or graduate students through active research participation in collaboration with foreign researchers at an international site.  Pr

August 29, 2007

Link of the week - FennoGrid: gridding with the people Assembly is billed as a four-day non-stop party for computer enthusiasts. This shot shows participants in the FennoGrid challenge, battling wits in a huge multiplayer game that took place while the animation was rendering.Image courtesy of Antti Hartikainen What happens if you gather 5000 gamers, with almost 3000 personal computers, and ask them to hook together an ad-hoc grid at a massive gaming festival?FennoGrid recently found out.FennoGrid is a Finnish non-profit organization set up to share information about grid and peer-to-peer research.Our most recent event took place at Finnish computer festival Assembly, a great place to raise awareness of grids with computer-savvy future users.Mission: possible? The challenge: to build and operate a huge ad-hoc cluster for 15 minutes, recruiting as many participants as possible to help render a 3D animation, all while playing a big-screen multi-player computer game. The technology: We used Blender software to render the anim

August 15, 2007

  Roaming mike - Voices from the OSG Great Plains Summer School Cristy Burne, iSGTW editorThree months in to the job and I still understood only a fraction of the three-letter acronyms required to have an ordinary conversation about grids. It was time for me to study up, and what better place than the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska, home of the mighty Huskers and center of activity for this year’s Open Science Grid Great Plains Summer School.As a grid novice I found this school a real eye-opener. What an opportunity to learn and create: we had 40 enthused scientists and academics, an endless supply of hot coffee, and an intensive schedule of lectures and hands-on grid computing. Anything was possible.Three days later I am shattered, but come away knowing more about the guts of grid computing than I thought there was to know. How it all fits together and does what it does is a wonder to me, and a credit to everyone involved.But what did everyone else think? I was keen to find out... Ben Clifford, Grid Train

August 8, 2007

Feature - Picture this: visualization as a tool for data analysis This is one image from a 3000-frame visualization showing air movement around Osprey rotors. It is one of visualization expert Kelly Gaither’s all-time favorites.Image courtesy of Kelly Gaither Transformers are no longer just toys from the 1980s.Bell-Boeing Ospreys are a real-life example of a transforming machine; they can begin flight as a helicopter, with rotors on top, and change mid-flight to operate like an aeroplane, with rotors in front. A few years ago, however, after two Osprey accidents, the United States government grounded the fleet. “The planes were having problems during the rotor transition,” says Kelly Gaither. “Our job was to figure out why.” Gaither is a visualization expert at the Texas Advanced Computing Center. She and her team simulated, visualized and created a 3000-frame movie to show air movement around the Osprey during transition.Where art meets science“When creating this movie, I had a chance to be jus

July 25, 2007

  Feature - UK Parliament gets up to speed on grid technology Could you explain the intricacies and potential of grid technology to your local parliamentarian, and all in the time it takes to eat breakfast? Stock image from morguefile If he can find time in his busy schedule, the UK’s new prime minister, Gordon Brown, can learn about grids with the launch of a new parliamentary briefing paper.The four-page introduction to grids and e-science has been produced for policy makers by the UK’s Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). As well as discussing grid technology and some of the UK’s key projects, it looks at issues like security, licensing and, of course, funding.POST is part of the UK Parliament, working for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. For nearly 20 years POST has been informing UK Members of Parliament about policy issues with a foundation in science and technology, which can include anything from climate change to stem cell research.David Cope, POST’s director

July 11, 2007

  Feature - More than just computing power: earth science on EGEE Monique Petitdidier: grid technology has more to offer than computing power.Image courtesy of EGEE You have a good chance of meeting Monique Petitdidier at any event that combines earth science with computing. Although officially retired, Petitdidier continues in her role as a senior scientist with French institutes IPSL and CNRS: she coordinates the Earth Science contingent of the Enabling Grids for E-sciencE community, and is a driving force behind the DEGREE project (Dissemination and Exploitation of GRids in Earth Science)Petitdidier says scientists in the Earth Science Research Virtual Organisation view grids as simply a computing means to their research end.“Most institutes cannot afford intensive computation, such as that required to run millions of jobs or very large data archive exploration,” Petitdidier points out. “This means that their science is limited by the computing power they have available.”“We mainly have rese

June 13, 2007

  Feature - Grid usability on the up   This plot shows a marked increase in the success rate of test jobs run on GridPP over time. Image courtesy of GridPPBeing a grid user isn’t always straightforward. You might have 10,000 CPUs and terabytes of disk at your fingertips, but can you get your job to work on all of them—or any of them? Although there are many more grid users than there used to be, getting started on a grid, and getting it to do what you want, is still not for the faint hearted. Fortunately, there are people trying to make it easier. One of them is Steve Lloyd of Queen Mary, University of London. As part of his work on the ATLAS experiment, Lloyd has been sending jobs to grids such as GridPP and EGEE for years. But although many of his jobs went off without a hitch, Lloyd found some just kept failing, even though they were sent to a working site that passed all the grid’s tests. Six months ago, he decided to find out why. And as Chair of the GridPP collaboration in the UK, he was in a pos

May 30, 2007

Image of the Week - Wim Klein  Wim Klein, known as one of the fastest “human computers” in the world, gives a demonstration of his mathematical prowess.Image courtesy of CERNPut down your high powered computers for just a second to pay homage to Willem (Wim) Klein, a man whose incredible calculation abilities earned him the nickname of “human calculator.”A quirky part of early computing history, Wim was recruited to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in 1957. He was tasked with the challenge of double-checking the results of CERN’s early computer programs.Wim not only checked the computer’s results, he regularly beat them to the answer. His mathematical prowess was such that hundreds of physicists and mathematicians would gather from around the world to watch him at work.During one such demonstration, in September 1973, Wim calculated the 19th root of a 133-digit number in one minute and 43 seconds. Unsatisfied with this tremendous feat, he went on to improve his time, con

May 23, 2007

  Feature - From High Performance Computing to Grid Marie-Christine Sawley, co-director of the Swiss National Supercomputing Center. Image courtesy of M. F. Arnold Computing power continues to grow exponentially. Users are demanding ever-more computing power as their applications become increasingly complex.Marie-Christine Sawley, co-director of the Swiss National Supercomputing Center (CSCS), has the job of matching the rapid expansion of computing technology with the needs of CSCS Users.“Communities with many different portfolios are using the CSCS: from biology and environmental science, fluid dynamics and material science to physics and astronomy,” Sawley explains. “Our facilities are used by the whole scientific community in Switzerland. Proposals to use our computers are scientifically reviewed and then they get their resources for free.” Supporting universities and research institutions in Switzerland is only one of CSCS’ areas of activity. Other units are dedicated to system

May 9, 2007

Link of the Week - Go to this week to hear the latest from the OGF20/EGEE User forum. Gridcasts share the excitement of the emerging developments in the grid field with the public. This week will be casting from the joint 20th Open Grid Forum and the Enabling Grids for E-sciencE User forum in Manchester, England. Gridcasts are a combination of blogs, podcasts and videos. This week’s Gridcasts will from eight people with different backgrounds participating in the meetings. They will share ideas, experiences, feelings, impressions, anything helpful to make the public “feel like they were there.”Check it out at

April 11, 2007

Feature - Fermilab Postdoc Gets Word out About the Grid Oliver Gutsche in his office at Fermilab.Image courtesy of Christine Buckley, FermilabOliver Gutsche, a postdoctoral researcher at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, U.S., and member of the Compact Muon Solenoid collaboration, participated in the Midwest Grid Workshop at the University of Illinois in Chicago, held March 24–25, where he taught students and scientists how to make the grid best work for them and their science. No stranger to science communication, Gutsche has enjoyed talking about physics since he gave organized tours to neighbors and visitors at DESY, a center for physics research in Germany, during his graduate school days. “In my opinion, the public usually thinks that we physicists just sit in our ivory towers,” he says. “Informing the public helps in changing this.”At the workshop, Gutsche demonstrated the submission of several jobs to the grid; he calls his demo “Discovering the Higgs on OSG.” The grid concept employs i