CrossGrid Achievements and Future Plans

Krakow 28 February 2005In three years we have developed Grid-enabled solutions for compute- and data-intensive applications that are distributed and require near real-time responses. These solutions are suitable for applications with a person in a computing loop; CrossGrid enables monitoring the progress of application execution, changing its parameters and receiving output on the fly.

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A number of advanced applications, which have potentially significant practical impact within their respective domains, have been ported to the Grid environment:

  • pre-treatment planning in vascular intervention and surgery,
  • Grid-based support for flood forecasting and management,
  • analysis of high-energy physics simulations,
  • weather forecasting combined with air pollution modelling.

Enabling interactive applications for Grids is the most innovative feature of CrossGrid. In addition, we have also developed and implemented solutions for running MPI applications on the Grid. Our users fall into two groups: application scientists and Grid developers.

The key software components of CrossGrid are:

  • the Migrating Desktop: a user-friendly tool for accessing Grid resources, with customized environments for individual users serviced by the CrossGrid Roaming Access Server;
  • the Grid Scheduler, supporting multiple users, sequential and parallel jobs; it allows simultaneous management of batch and interactive jobs;
  • OCM-G/GPM for monitoring the performance of Grid applications.

Moreover, CrossGrid has also developed other supporting tools and services, geared towards implementing the notion of interactivity in Grid computing.

CrossGrid services and tools are built upon the Globus Toolkit. Where applicable, developing GGF specifications have been applied and web service technologies are used for implementation of various Grid components, enabling interoperability with Grid tools and middleware being developed by other EU Grid projects, as well as porting CrossGrid software to future Grid systems.

CrossGrid software has been available since March 2004 under an open source license that is based on the DataGrid General Public License.

Most CrossGrid software tools and components will be supported beyond the end of the project by CrossGrid partners.

The Project has developed a large European Grid testbed with 16 sites, complete with security certificates, virtual organizations, site administrators and support personnel, fully compatible with the EGEE Grid Infrastructure. The CrossGrid tutorial is available for potential users and it is also used at the Institute of Computer Science AGH in Krakow and the Amsterdam University as a teaching aid, accompanying M.Sc. lectures on Grid technologies.

The software development process was preceded by a research program which resulted in about 200 scientific publications; the best of them will be collected in a CrossGrid book which is now undergoing internal review and consolidation. This approach has also resulted in a series of successful AcrossGrids Conferences (in Santiago de Compostela, Nicosia, and Amsterdam).

These achievements would not have been possible without some two hundred dedicated staff, who found this project to be well suited for their scientific interests. During CrossGrid, they met at workshops, conferences, and integration meetings (personally or via VRVS), establishing new links and collaborations and leading to the formation of a real CrossGrid community.

Meanwhile, CrossGrid solutions are being taken up by next-generation research initiatives under the 6th Framework Programme of the European Community, including EGEE, K-WfGrid, CoreGrid, as well as national Grid initiatives (e.g. SGIGrid and CLUSTERIX in Poland). Currently, members of our Consortium are working on subsequent proposals for EU Grid projects: pilot Grids, transparent semantic Grids, Grid infrastructures for environmental and medical applications, etc. We hope to be successful!

(Reprinted with permission from the Crossgrid Newsletter.)


Michal Turala, Marian Bubak

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