Cyprus joins the list of fully operational NGIs

The Cypriot National Grid Initiative (CyGrid) is the latest NGI to become fully operational, as announced in a broadcast to the EGI community on 8 December.

There were no last minute glitches to report: “Everything was fine the last days, with no problems or issues,” said Andoena Balla, system administrator at CyGrid. The Nagios monitoring system, used to test and access the quality of service, was the last tool to become fully operational. But there is still work to do. For the near future, CyGrid is planning to implement the “migration of all services to glite 3.2,” says Balla. “Also we are planning to buy new servers and provide more resources to our users,” she adds.

Cyprus operates two sites attached to the European Grid Infrastructure and has 13 active users from the fields of Computer Science and Physics. CyGrid’s users run a number of applications listed on their online database. CyGrid is Cyprus’ national resource provider as well as the country’s representative on the EGI.eu council.

The sound of GÉANT ft. The Grid

GÉANT turned ten years and Domenico Vicinanza celebrated the event by using the grid infrastructure to create a birthday song (and ringtone) made of all the names of the NREN partners involved in the project.

Vicinanza, who works at DANTE, used a technique called sonification to turn the partners’ names into a musical tune that feels like the soundtrack of a futuristic fairy-tale. “Sonification, in general terms, is the acoustic counterpart of the graphical data representation,” he explains. “In other words, it is the representation of data or by means of audible information.”

Here is how sonification works: Vicinanza attributed a specific musical note to each letter of the alphabet using the white keys of a piano as a scale. He also assigned duration to the notes – vowels lasted a quaver (1/8) and consonants a semiquaver (1/16). Then, Vicinanza used the data sonification architecture already available on the GILDA infrastructure to run the algorithm. The final result of sonification depends on multiple parameters, such as the duration of the notes, the sounds and timbres, the musical scale or the set of notes. “Using the grid, I had the possibility to easily experiment with several sonifications, changing all the parameters I wanted and having multiple algorithms running at the same time on the grid,” says Vicinanza. “With the help of the grid I could satisfy my artistic need of experimenting with sonification procedures, choosing the one more suitable, processing all of the at the same time and then selecting,” he adds. “Without the grid I would have spent much more time in creating the sonification melodies.”

The birthday song was officially presented to the public on 24 November, at the beginning of the plenary session of GÉANT’s symposium in Vienna. “I really like the result of the sonification,” says Vicinanza. “The melody has some nice regularity, because some of the text own regularities - sonification has the beauty of inheriting them and making them audible.” The GÉANT birthday song was only the beginning and Vicinanza’s plans are ambitious: “I’ll keep writing more songs, continuing experimenting with sonification and artistic application of grid computing,” he says.

GÉANT's birthday song is available as an mp3 file and as a ringtone.

Online submission of abstracts for the user forum opens

Submissions of extended abstracts for participation in the EGI User Forum 2011 is now open online, The event will take place in Vilnius, Lithuania (11-15 April). EGI, in conjunction with the European Middleware Initiative and Vilnius University, welcomes contributions from the European e-Infrastructure community, and their international collaborators. End-users, application and tool developers as well as operations staff across Europe can submit abstracts for:

  • Oral presentations

  • Posters

  • Demonstrations

  • Workshops

  • Stands for the exhibition area

Accepted abstracts for oral presentations will be published in the conference's abstract book. The programme committee is looking for contributions on topics such as:

  • Current research approaches or results obtained from using e-Infrastructures

  • Domain specific and generic portals that simplify access to e-Infrastructures

  • Experiences from applications ported, developed or deployed with e-Infrastructures

  • End-user environments (tools/portals/gateways) for accessing e-Infrastructure

  • Services or software relating to large-scale data analysis or data-oriented applications on distributed computing infrastructures

  • Provision and support for user-oriented e-Infrastructures

  • Management and/or exploitation of emerging computing technologies (desktops, virtualisation, clouds)

  • Integration, sharing and exploitation of national and international e-Infrastructure

  • Delivery of operational e-Infrastructure services to its users

Abstract submission will end on 17 December.

New major release of the EGI Applications Database

The new release of the EGI Applications Database (AppDB) was announced last Thursday, 18 November, by the AppDB administration team. The Applications Database stores tailor-made applications, ready to be used on the European Grid Infrastructure.

Previously AppDB was in read-only mode. Writing access is still restricted to representatives from the different National Grid Initiatives (NGI), who will register new applications and tools on behalf of their team. The AppDB administration team, based at the Institute of Accelerating Systems and Applications (IASA) in Athens, Greece, welcomes new contributors: “if you want to to gain write access to AppDB on behalf of your NGI, please apply for it in a GGUS ticket, by specifying "AppDB write access request" in the "Short description" field, and stating the NGI you represent in the description field below,” they suggest.

  • Key features of the new AppDB release are:

  • Authenticated, secure write access for users based on the EGI SSO system

  • Linkage of EGI application developer and EGI application user profiles with EGI SSO

  • Expanded profile pages about applications, tools and people

  • Statistical information about applications, tools, and people, with multiple format image export support

  • Support for every EGI middleware (gLite, ARC, UNICORE, Globus)

  • News feed about latest AppDB activities

  • User messaging and system notifications through internal inbox system

The applications database was developed to encourage scientists to use the grid in their research and to avoid duplication of programming and porting efforts across the EGI community.

 

Autumn issue of Inspired, published

The Autumn 2010 edition of Inspired, EGI's newsletter, has just been published online and is also available as .pdf.

This issue covers wide range of stories, including articles on the upcoming User Forum and a profile of the Italian National Grid Initiative. But that's not all.

If you want to contribute with ideas, suggestions or stories do not hesitate to email the editor.

NGS Innovation Forum

This November the UK´s National Grid Service (NGS) - the British NGI in conjunction with GridPP - will hold the third annual NGS Innovation Forum event at STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at Didcot near Oxford, UK. 

The NGS has an ever-growing number of users from a wide range of research areas – from social sciences to particle physics.  The NGS Innovation Forum is an annual event which enables NGS users, NGS staff, technical staff from NGS member institutions and other interested parties to get together and hear about our latest developments and to feedback their requirements and comments direct to the NGS. This year the innovation Forum will feature user presentations from engineers, social scientists and computational biologists who will demonstrate how they have used NGS resources in their research.  There will also be presentations on major European projects such as EGI, ELIXIR and CLARIN. 

We want the attendees to leave the event with new knowledge about NGS developments and be able to implement this in their day to day research.  To enable this we have demonstrations of 5 tools available from the NGS which will be presented in a “walk-through” style.  The demos are:

  • NGS User Interface /Workload Management System
  • Application Hosting Environment
  • HERMES data management tool
  • NGS Database Service
  • NGS Desktop tools

Registration for the event is now open to all and will close on the 12th of November.  Attendees are welcome to attend for one or both days of the event.  A full agenda and the link to registration is available at http://www.ngs.ac.uk/events/ngs-IF10.

User Forum 2011: Call for participation opens

Following the success of the Technical Forum 2010 in Amsterdam, EGI has opened the call for participation in the 2011 User Forum to be held in Vilnius, Lithuania (11-15 April).

The User Forum will be organised by EGI.eu, Vilnius University and LITENET with the support of the EGI-InSPIRE and European Middleware Initiative (EMI) projects. The capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, is one of the most beautiful towns in Eastern Europe. It has always been a multinational, multilingual, and multicultural city with traces of Jewish, Karaite and Tartar cultures. Vilnius enjoys a well-developed infrastructure of services and entertainments and is home to a vibrant community of artists, headquartered in the so-called Republic of Uzupis.

The event will feature an exhibition area open for organisations active within the EGI community (projects, NGIs, companies) to present their work. In addition, end-users, application and tool developers, operations staff and others are encouraged to participate by submitting abstracts for:

  • Oral presentations

  • Posters

  • Demonstrations

  • Workshops

  • Stands for the exhibition area

EGI welcomes online submissions of extended abstracts (not full technical papers) that include a brief overview, a description of work, impact of work, and main conclusions. The website for extended abstract submission will be announced shortly.

EGI travels to Warsaw and Brussels

The European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) will be at two major events next week: the Open Grid Forum in Brussels (25-28 October) and the e-Challenges Conference in Warsaw (27-29 October).

The Open Grid Forum (OGF) provides processes and policies about how to develop open software drawn from the grid community. The organisation is well-known for its thrice-yearly events and EGI will be at next week’s OGF30 in Brussels.

The EGI team has a stand in the booth area and will be ready to answer any queries about the organisation. Technical manager Michel Drescher will also be there to monitor recent standard updates relevant to EGI and with potential impact on the EGI’s UMD roadmap. “I’m looking forward to see what’s being done to develop a common language for accounting records,” says Drescher, who will attend the Usage Records Working Group session

In addition OGF will see two important meetings of the distributed computing community. EGI will be holding its first meeting of the Technology Coordination Board that will start formalising the relationship between the production infrastructure and two of its main technology providers – the European Middleware Initiative (EMI) and Initiative for Globus in Europe (IGE) projects. OGF 30 will also see the first meeting of experts from across the community to start discussing the SIENA roadmap for Grid and Cloud standards.

eChallenges 2010 will be the 20th in a series of European Commission-supported conferences on e-Infrastructures and distributed computing. EGI will share a stand at the Warsaw’s event with the e-ScienceTalk project to spread the word about Europe’s grid infrastructure. Catherine Gater, EGI’s dissemination manager, will also present a short talk about the organisation entitled “EGI - A sustainable grid infrastructure for Europe”.

Switzerland joins the list of fully operational NGIs

The Swiss NGI (NGI_CH) is now fully operational, as broadcasted to the EGI community on 4 October. It’s the fourth national grid to become fully integrated in the past two months, following Hungary and Turkey in late July and the Netherlands at the end of September.

The Swiss National Grid Association (SwiNG) has delegated the NGI role to SWITCH, which also represents Switzerland in the EGI-InSPIRE project.

Switzerland has five sites attached to the European Grid Infrastructure: three running on gLite middleware and an additional two on ARC. The migration to GOCDB did not stumble against major obstacles: “On an operational basis we have always worked together with Germany and continue to do so - so it wasn't a big complicated process like other NGIs have to go through,” says Christoph Witzig, Middleware team leader at SWITCH.

The last tool to become operational was the Nagios monitoring framework. But there are still many open issues for the future, “most notably the support and monitoring of an national infrastructure consisting of gLite and ARC sites,” adds Witzig.