Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

COREGRID — Result In Brief

Project ID: 4265
Funded under: FP6-IST
Country: France

European research reshapes grid landscape

Grids offer huge number-crunching power by combining distributed (different locations) computing resources towards common goals. Once the preserve of big organisations, grid technology is finding new converts thanks to efforts by a European research network.
European research reshapes grid landscape
As science evolves and the problems it seeks to solve get more complex, it calls for more powerful computing, or supercomputing. Few organisations in Europe have that sort of power on hand, but if the unused resources of many organisations could be brought together, then the sky is the limit.

This is the basic idea behind grid computing, which uses some clever technologies, such as middleware which connects relevant software and applications, to harness the power of many computers distributed across different locations. It underwrites the revolution taking place with virtual science, or e-science, and makes new discoveries in data-heavy research, such as particle physics and genomics, all the more possible.

The EU-funded Coregrid network has paved the way for much wider access to grid-computing technology and its application in untapped markets, from better climate change modelling to the way cars behave in collisions.

As a network of excellence under the Union's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) for research, Coregrid assembled a 'critical mass' of expertise and promoted scientific and technological excellence within the grid research community and beyond. The idea being to take grids out of research labs and into industry.

To do this, Coregrid first had to build solid foundations for grid and peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies by coordinating European R&D among experts in parallel and distributed systems, middleware, programming models, algorithms, tools and environments.

In just four years Coregrid has become one of the largest research entities - 161 permanent researchers and 164 PhD students from 46 research centres and universities - in grid computing. Their work has covered diverse research topics, including data management, programming models, resource management and scheduling, service infrastructures and P2P systems, to name a few.

Leading teams from all over Europe have organised nearly 80 meetings and workshops, set up knowledge repositories, published or presented hundreds of peer-reviewed papers, including several professional books, laid the groundwork for several spin-off projects, courses and initiatives, and more. The teams also actively encouraged new ideas to anticipate technological trends and promote commercially relevant and promising research.

Coregrid reshaped the research landscape in grid computing. Its goal of establishing a highly visible and sustainable research lab in grid computing has been achieved. The team also understood several years back that computing technologies would evolve and that grids would change with it. Today terms like internet services and cloud computing - supercomputing potential over the internet - are discussed freely alongside grid computing.

Coregrid has developed theoretical foundations and software infrastructures for large-scale, distributed grid and P2P applications. With co-hosts, the network continues to organise workshops, including a recent one in Italy, and it has extended its interests to include the emerging field of (service-based) cloud computing - a trend to watch according to Europe's software experts.

'The grid research community can be proud of what it has achieved over the last ten years,' noted the Coregrid team. It has also shown that the internet can carry out large-scale distributed computing applications to help researchers perform even the heaviest of computing tasks.

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