iSGTW Feature - Grid Contests Draw Participants from Three Continents

Feature: Grid Contests Draw Participants from Three Continents

Winners of the PlugtestsTM from the University of Tokyo, pictured with several members of the jury.

More than 200 grid researchers, users and industry representatives came together November 27-December 1 at the GRIDS@Work event in Sophia Antiopolis, France. The highlight of the event was the 3rd Plugtests™ contest, in which ten teams from Europe, Asia and South America competed to solve two computational problems in the least amount of time using a specially constructed grid.

In the first contest, teams had one hour to run an application to solve the FlowShop problem, one of the hardest challenge problems in combinatorial optimization. Solving the problem required the teams' applications to find a schedule of a set of jobs on a set of machines that minimizes the total execution time.

The second contest required participating teams to solve the N-Queens problem: how many ways a number (N) of queens can be placed on an NxN chessboard with none able to attack any other. Teams had one hour to solve the problem for the most number of queens using the highest number of machines.

The overall first prize was awarded to the University of Tokyo team, which won both contests. The team solved the FlowShop problem in 553 seconds for 207 worker machines, and found 6,467 billion solutions to the N-Queens problem on 2,193 worker machines. Second place was awarded to two Chinese teams: Tsinghua University and Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.

Two Plugtests™ contests provided developers of the ProActive middleware with opportunity to test and develop new features for their software. ProActive is an application enabler for service oriented architectures that deploys onto hetereogeneous international grids. The grid infrastructure used for the Plugtests™ spanned 40 sites in 15 countries on three continents.

"Using the open source middleware ProActive, a member of the ObjectWeb consortium, the participants have been able to deploy over a very heterogeneous grid, demonstrating strong progress of grid technologies, both in efficiency and interoperability," said Denis Caromel, one of the Plugtests™organizers.

The ETSI Plugtests™ service organizes interoperability events for telecommunication, Internet and information tiechnology standards. Plugtests™ events are open to all companies, organizations, working and study groups implementing a standard. Contests are commissioned by businesses that want to make sure their developing product is interoperable, or by standardization bodies who want to check the progress of a new specification or get useful feedback for their members.

GRIDS@Work organizers hope to attract even wider grid community involvement for the 4th Plugtests™ contest for grid applications, to be held next November.

More information is available at the Plugtests™ Web site.

- Katie Yurkewicz, iSGTW Editor-in-Chief