Feature - National, regional, global, industrial: EU-IndiaGrid takes its place in the grid computing world
Last month, while snow fell on much of Europe and the U.S., things stayed pretty hot in Bangalore, India, where 150 grid experts gathered as part of the EU-IndiaGrid conference, held from 13-14 December in conjunction with e-Science 2007.
EU-IndiaGrid, a project supporting the e-science community between Europe and India, provides an infrastructure comprising 1200 core processors and 50 terabytes of disk space, with access to a one gigabit per second link through the Indian Department of Atomic Energy Grid Project.
December's conference emphasized recent EU-IndiaGrid successes and the introduction of several new tools for biological simulations, including the use of computer-based surrogate bacteria to investigate chemotactic behaviour and a grid-enabled tool called MOOSE for simulating neural systems ranging from subcellular components and biochemical reactions to complex models of single neurons, large networks and systems-level processes.
The conference also showcased a protein folding algorithm adapted for EU-IndiaGrid. Called the Biased Exchange Molecular Dynamics algorithm, or BEM, it was awarded the Best Poster prize for e-Science 2007. The algorithm is a loosely coupled parallel code that fits wonderfully on the EU-IndiaGrid infrastructure with an asynchronous client/server communication mechanism.
Global collaboration for ongoing success
EU-IndiaGrid is just one of several European projects that aim at the continued development of grid computing infrastructures around the world. In view of this, December's conference also covered the latest from EELA in Latin America, SEEGrid2 in South-Eastern Europe and EU-ChinaGrid in China.
"The highest intellects in a country must be allowed to work on fundamental problems of their choice," said EU-IndiaGrid Coordinator Alberto Masoni, of INFN.
Masoni also quoted the opening address of R. Chidambaram, principal scientific advisor of the Government of India, in saying that India's participation in many worldwide collaborations, such as the Large Hadron Collider, STAR, PHOENIX, GÉANT and ITER, was as essential as its sustained interest in national projects.
"We must also be present in 'megascience' projects in basic research, such as the Large Hadron Collider in CERN, and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope or the India-based Neutrino Observatory in India," he said. "Grids are all about sharing-they are a means of working with groups around the world."
Interoperability key to sustainability
Masoni also emphasized the importance of interoperability in achieving sustainability and satisfying grid users. "Today we have a window of opportunity to move grids from research prototypes to permanent production systems," he said. "Interoperability is key to providing the level of support required for our user communities."
To this end, Masoni said that EU-IndiaGrid will continue to focus on achieving interoperability with other Indian grid infrastructures-GARUDA and the Department of Atomic Energy Grid-as well as with European infrastructures OMII-Europe and EGEE.
EU-IndiaGrid is an EU-funded project coordinated by INFN, Italy, and partnered by European and Indian businesses and research institutions.
- Tiziana Lombardo, EU-IndiaGrid