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CERN recognizes UK's outstanding contribution to Grid computing

CERN's Director General, Dr Robert Aymar, today formally (June 2nd) recognized the UK's exceptional contribution to developing the next generation of computing by presenting awards for outstanding achievement to two British researchers who have been at the forefront of Grid computing at CERN.,

Dr Aymar also took the opportunity to praise the UK's e-Science programme as a whole, for its pioneering efforts to establish and promote Grid technology at the national level in Europe, efforts which have been a considerable inspiration to other European countries and to the EU. Dr Aymar presented a CERN-UK award for outstanding achievement in Grid development, to Dr Andrew McNab of the University of Manchester. Dr Aymar cited Dr McNab's key contributions to developing a robust security model for the Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid, which is of critical importance for ensuring that the huge amounts of data produced by CERN's next particle accelerator will be securely stored and easily accessible for analysis. Dr Aymar also awarded Dr Frank Harris with a CERN-UK lifetime achievement award. Dr Harris is a senior member of the research staff in Particle Physics at Oxford University, and has been based at CERN for fifteen years. Dr Aymar praised the great contribution Dr Harris has made to the progress of online computing throughout his time at CERN, from the earliest days of the World Wide Web to his later role in the birth of the particle physics Grid. CERN is currently constructing a computing Grid, to deal with the huge amounts of data that will be produced by its next particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). When the LHC starts operation in 2007, the equivalent of some 15 Petabytes of data will need to be stored every year - enough to fill a stack of CDs twice the height of Mt Everest. Processing power equivalent to some 100,000 of today's high performance PCs will be required in order to sift through the data, looking for new particles that can provide clues to the origins of our Universe. The prototype LHC Computing Grid (LCG) began routine operation in September 2003, and today has some 40 sites worldwide contributing substantial computing resources. This Grid infrastructure is being used to successfully process particle physics data, demonstrating the viability of a global computing Grid for tackling the enormous data storage and analysis requirements of the LHC. (See www.cern.ch/lcg for more information). The award presentations took place at a meeting of GridPP1, a collaboration of Particle Physicists and Computing Scientists from the UK and CERN2, which was held this week at CERN in Geneva. GridPP has played a vital role in launching the LCG project, and contributed a major share of the external support to the project. The UK's contribution represents nearly 40% of all dedicated national resources allocated to the project in its first three-year phase. "GridPP's contribution has made a critical difference, and the UK's commitment to LCG, above and beyond the call of duty, emphasizes the proactive role that the UK has taken in European science in recent years." said Dr Aymar. "The foresight of persons such as Prof. Ian Halliday, Chief Executive of PPARC3, has enabled the UK to take a leading role in this new field of computing applications, as exemplified by the outstanding achievements of Andrew and Frank". "Without doubt, contributing to the LCG project has been mutually beneficial for CERN and the UK", added Prof. Tony Doyle of the University of Glasgow, who is GridPP's Project Leader. "The LCG project is the most challenging and urgent Grid project in science today and the opportunity for many of our best and brightest young scientists and engineers to contribute has been a great educational experience." He added that the spin-off of this activity for British industry was anticipated to be significant, as illustrated by the attendance of many leading UK high-tech companies at a special event on the industrial impact of IT technology from CERN, held last week in London and Geneva (for information about this event see http://www.pparc.ac.uk/In/CERNIT.asp). This event is being followed by a DTI industry mission in June, enabling UK companies to explore technical advances being made in IT at CERN. The UK's £250m e-Science programme, of which GridPP is one facet, has been an inspiration to others in Europe. With EU support, the national Grid programmes across Europe are now joining forces to establish a truly European Grid, as part of the 32m EGEE project (Enabling Grids for E-Science in Europe), launched two months ago. UK scientists are in the vanguard of the project, with ten UK sites already running the middleware that will be used to build the EGEE Grid. CERN, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is where Sir Tim Berners-Lee developed his idea of the World Wide Web nearly 15 years ago. For many, the Grid represents the most significant development of the Internet since the Web. If so, Britain and Europe will be well-placed to exploit this new technology, thanks to their major role in the pioneering work at CERN.,The Grid PP Collaboration involves: The University of Birmingham; The University of Bristol; Brunel University; CERN, European Particle Physics Laboratory; The University of Cambridge; Central Laboratory of the Research Councils; The University of Durham; The University of Edinburgh; The University of Glasgow; Imperial College London; Lancaster University; The University of Liverpool; The University of Manchester; Oxford University; Queen Mary, University of London; Royal Holloway, University of London; The University of Sheffield; The University of Sussex; University of Wales Swansea; The University of Warwick; University College London. For more information see http://www.gridpp.ac.uk

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