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iSGTW Feature - Our powers combined: gLite, Globus and Unicore play ball


Feature - Our powers combined: gLite, Globus and Unicore play ball

The OMII-Europe team will celebrate the close of the project's first phase in late April by releasing five interoperable software components that will give scientists the ability to combine the middleware powers of gLite, Globus and Unicore.
Images courtesy of Sergio Andreozzi

Connectivity and sharing lie at the heart of grid technology, yet ironically, the grid world can be a lonely place for a scientist.

Researchers are limited to the storage, databases and processing power made available by their own particular grid middleware.

This means each grid platform becomes the equivalent of an independent city-state. If you've ever felt the need to tunnel under your own city to visit other middleware dominions, then you'll be interested in some new software that can let you do just that.

In late April, OMII-Europe will celebrate the close of its first phase by releasing five interoperable software components that allow grid users to work across Europe's major grid platforms: gLite, Globus and Unicore.

"We hope this will have a great impact on the European research community, helping them to reach out to computers and databases that they previously couldn't access," says Alistair Dunlop, OMII-Europe project manager.

Thanks to this new way to connect heterogeneous grids, scientists using one platform will no longer be isolated from scientists using other platforms.

Thanks to OMII-Europe, using different middlewares need no longer mean you are moving in different directions.
Images courtesy of Sergio Andreozzi

Introducing OMII-Europe

The OMII-Europe project, or Open Middleware Infrastructure Institute Europe, launched in May 2006 after its coordinating partner, the University of Southampton in the UK, proposed an EU project that would connect the different grid platforms popping up in the research community.

"The path to connection," says Dunlop, "is through standards."

OMII-Europe, while not officially related to international grids standards body Open Grid Forum, is nonetheless an ally with the same cause: universal grid standards. OMII-Europe uses OGF standards for their software components and several of OMII-Europe engineers, researchers and developers are part of OGF working groups.

The project's components, available in OMII-Europe's online repository, are being adopted by widely known projects such as the WISDOM initiative, which searches for anti malarial drugs, and the Virtual Physiological Human Project, which seeks to create a comprehensive computer model of the human body.

For these and other projects, the grid world is about to become a much more connected place.

OMII-Europe, launched in May 2006, has 16 partner institutions in Europe, the U.S. and China.

- Danielle Venton, EGEE

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