Ongoing research: Grid

The Grid Computing activities at Uppsala University dates back to the creation of the NorduGrid project in 2001. This project was initiated by high energy physicists in the Nordic Countries who wanted to create a computing infrastructure in the region suitable for the computing needs of the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider. In order to achieve this goal collaborations were started with scientists from other scientific fields with a similar interest in computing capabilities. The outcome of this project was a middleware suite that has since become known as the Advanced Resource Connector (ARC).

The original NorduGrid project was run with the support of the Nordic Council of Ministers through the NorduNet2 programme. The project was later transformed into a research collaboration committed to the continued support and development of the ARC middleware.

The continuing development of ARC is supported by the European Middleware Initiative (EMI) which is a project in EU’s 7th framework program. The project brings together partners representing several European middleware projects. In addition to ARC, also gLite, unicore and dCache are represented. One of the goals of the project is to improve interoperability between the different middlewares and defining standardized interfaces for various grid services.

The Initiative for Globus in Europe (IGE) is another grid related project in EU's 7th framework program where we are one of the partners. The Globus toolkit is a basic building block in many grid installations providing technologies such as Grid Security Infrastructure (GSI) and GridFTP. The IGE project further develops the toolkit and adapts it to new applications.

In order to build a grid infrastructure not only a suitable middleware is needed. Also the computing resources where the computations take place must be available. The ARC middleware has been successful because of its non-intrusiveness and portability, which has made it easy to integrate already existing cluster installations in the grid infrastructure.

The SweGrid project was launched in order to provide funding for computing hardware for a national grid infrastructure in Sweden. This project collected the participation of representatives from several research fields with a principal investigator from the department of physics and astronomy at Uppsala University. The project connects resources at the different academic research centres in Sweden to a national distributed computing infrastructure. One of the centres providing resources to SweGrid is UPPMAX.

The coordination of the operation of grid infrastructures on a European level is done by the European Grid Initiative (EGI). On the Nordic level the Nordic Data Grid Facility (NDGF) has been created to coordinate computing resources in the Nordic Countries in order to meet the needs of research projects that have large computing requirements. The NDGF is providing a Tier 1 for the ATLAS experiment in the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG).