One of the advantages of using the grid is that it makes life easier for researchers who want to collaborate on the same or similar experiments, but are physically located in different countries. In the past six years, much effort has been invested in the development of the European Grid Infrastructure to make this possible for the European Research Area. Best practice and lessons learned during this period can be invaluable for grids and other e-infrastructures being established around the world. On 11 July 2011, EGI-InSPIRE signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the CHAIN (Co-ordination & Harmonisation of Advanced e-INfrastructures) project to further connections with other regions of the world.
The CHAIN project plans to bring the operational and organisational principles of European e-infrastructures (especially the grid) to Asia, Mediterranean, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Its vision to seamlessly integrate e-infrastructures with these regions will help to facilitate international collaborations for scientists within the European Research Area.
“Our ultimate goal is to provide European scientists and their international partners with a sustainable, integrated, reliable e-infrastructure that can support their needs for large-scale data analysis,” says Steven Newhouse, Project Director of EGI-InSPIRE. “The CHAIN project helps to support this mission by promoting integrated operations and sustainability within regional e-infrastructures with which our user community is collaborating.”
EGI-InSPIRE and CHAIN will work together on various areas needed for integrated sustainable operations. They will define roadmaps for: the interoperation and integration between the European Grid Infrastructure and the regional grid infrastructures involved; operational tools and their future development; and adopting open standards for grid resources where available. Effort will be made to identify, foster and connect related Virtual Research Communities common between the two activities. To help them use the e-infrastructures, support materials and applications will be made available on the training marketplace and applications database. Both parties will co-ordinate communication activities to maximise impact. They will also share a range of knowledge on their respective National Grid Initiatives, from operations to policy.
“CHAIN is focusing on Virtual Research Communities that have an intercontinental span, such as those investigating climate change, and need to work seamlessly across different eInfrastructures. They obviously require interoperable infrastructures that allow researchers to easily access not only computing resources but, even more important, large data repositories that are shared worldwide. EGI-InSPIRE and CHAIN are synergistically promoting such research activities supporting the removal of the barriers and obstacles to a fruitful collaboration of the best minds in all the regions of the world”, concludes Federico Ruggieri, Project Director of CHAIN.