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GRIDS Center Newsletter

November 2005

The following news about distributed computing is from the Grid Research, Integration, Deployment and Support Center (GRIDS), part of the National Science Foundation Middleware Initiative (NMI). Subscribe to the GRIDS Center Newsletter by sending e-mail to with "subscribe news" in the body of the message. See our archive of previous newsletters.

Two significant events occurred during the fall of 2005: the release of NMI-R8, which includes two important new components, and the successful demonstration of the Biophony Grid Portal, the culmination of the LTERgrid pilot study, which showed on a high level how grid middleware can assist long-term ecological studies. SC'05 participants can see the Biophony Grid Portal in action at the NCSA booth on Tuesday, November 15 at 11:00 AM.


Grid Computing: A Vision for LTER Cyberinfrastructure
The LTER Grid Pilot Study, which ran from March 2005 to September 2005, investigated how grid middleware and high-performance computer applications could be used to facilitate remote study and collaboration among ecology and biology researchers all over the world. The study culminated in the successful demonstration on September 20, 2005 of the Biophony Grid Portal.

GRIDS Center Tutorial at SC'05
GRIDS Center members, Mike Freemon and David Gehrig of NCSA, along with Jaime Frey of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, will present a one-day tutorial, Hands-On: Introduction to Grid Computing, geared toward novice Grid users at SC'05 this year. The hands-on, full-day tutorial moves the new Grid user through a guided series of activities introducing concepts such as the Globus toolkit, Grid security certificates, reliable file transfer, simple job management, and workflow management. The tutorial introduces essential skills that will be needed to conduct and support use of the Grid computing environment.

NMI Release 8 Now Available
NMI-R8, released October 18, 2005, marks two important "firsts" for the NMI program: the addition and integration of Ninf-G, the first non-U.S.-developed component included in the GRIDS Center Software Suite; and GridShib, the first software enabling interoperability between the Globus® Toolkit and Shibboleth® federating software.


Secure Sign-on and Credentials-Based Authentication for the LTER Grid
A significant challenge in the development of such community grids as the LTER Grid is finding ways to take advantage of the community's existing authentication facilities. Members of the GRIDS Center at NCSA accomplished this by integrating MyProxy with the Pluggable Authentication Modules interface to enable integration with existing authentication mechanisms, and by replacing username/password authentication with credential-based authentication.

WSMetacatService A GT4 Web Service Wrapper for Metacat
The September 20, 2005 LTERgrid Pilot application demonstration also showed how the connection between a Metacat client and a Metacat server could be secured using a GSI-enabled https connection and how Metacat could be Web Service-enabled.

Software Releases

NMI Release 8
Components in R8 include software, online services, directory schema, conventions and best practices, architecture documents, and policies. These components have been contributed by three systems integrator teams funded by NMI: The GRIDS Center, NMI-EDIT, and OGCE.

GridSolve, released August 14 by the Innovative Computing Laboratory of the University of Tennessee, is a new implementation of the grid middleware system NetSolve that is based on the emerging standard for Grid Remote Procedure Call (GridRPC). Features include tolerance for Network Address Translation (NAT) devices, accelerated performance based on the Receiver Makes Right (RDR) protocol, support for asynchronous management of long-running jobs, streamlined development of new services, easier service deployment, and enhanced resource selection.

News from Around the Grid

Grid Community Should ‘Flock’ to BoF Sessions at SC’05
Grid computing will feature prominently at SC’05, particularly in Birds-of-a-Feather sessions, which include well-known names like Ian Foster, Charlie Catlett, and others.

Open Science Grid Technology and Applications Featured at SC’05
The Open Science Grid, a nationwide community grid built by research groups from United States universities and national laboratories, will showcase advanced grid technologies and innovative scientific applications at SC’05. Presentations and demonstrations at 13 booths will show how scientists from diverse fields contribute manpower and resources to the OSG and benefit from easy access to local and remote resources, testing and production environments for middleware and applications, and a common computing infrastructure. Over 20 member organizations representing more than 50 institutions and hundreds of researchers contribute to the OSG and benefit from access to shared resources worldwide, including over 10,000 CPUs and many terabytes of data storage.

TACC, UTIG Break ground on New “Home” on J. J. Pickle Research Campus
The three-story, 94,000-square foot building on the J. J. Pickle Research Campus will be shared by the Texas Advanced Computing Center and the Jackson School of Geosciences’ Institute for Geophysics. Specifically, the building will provide a 6,000-square foot, raised-floor computer machine room that can be expanded to 12,000 feet. Construction is expected to be complete by fall 2006.

Intel Simplifies Storage
Intel Corporation has announced a new storage platform, Intel Storage System SSR212MA, aimed at enabling small- and medium-sized businesses to build a full-featured Storage Area Network (SAN) based on IP networking standards as a low-cost complement or alternative to fibre channel-based solutions. Using a single Intel® Xeon® processor, the platform supports up to 12 Serial ATA hard drives and iSCSI connectivity, which allows SANs to be built on existing network IP infrastructure. According to Intel, the new platform is “designed to make it easier and more affordable for small- and medium-sized businesses to deploy storage solutions that help ensure prompt disaster recovery and extend backup capabilities.”

New Connection Links PNNL to High-Speed Networks
A new connection on a fiber optic cable between Richland and Seattle has been lit to support the high-speed transfer of very large data sets between researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and U.S. and international science communities. The new connection links PNNL to the Pacific Northwest Gigapop exchange point in Seattle. From there, the lab is able to join the DOE UltraScience Network as well as other national and international networks. This light-riding connection advances the ability of PNNL scientists to collaborate and share information from major research programs in homeland security, cyber security, information visualization, and human and environmental health with scientific institutions worldwide.

Centers Join to Forge e-Science Tools
Three UK centers are joining forces to make Grid middleware, developed under the UK e-Science Program, available and easy to use by e-researchers in all disciplines. The e-Science Core Program is investing an extra 3.8 million pounds over three years to establish the Open Middleware Infrastructure Institute-UK (OMII-UK) by pooling expertise gained on internationally recognized e-Science projects at the Universities of Edinburgh, Manchester and Southampton.

External Conferences, Workshops,
Events, and Calls for Papers

HiPC 2005 Registration Now Open
Advance registration is now open for the 2005 International Conference on High-Performance Computing, to be held December 18-21 in Goa, India. The deadline is November 7.

HPGC 2006 Call For Papers
The Third High-Performance Grid Computing Workshop will be held April 29, 2006, in Rhodes, Greece, in conjunction with the International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS’2006, April 25-29, 2006). The HPGC workshop provides a forum for presenting research results on most aspects of grid computing, with a focus on performance, in the areas of applications, benchmarking, infrastructure, management and scheduling, partitioning and load balancing, and programming models. The deadline for paper submissions is November 18; authors will be notified by December 20. More details are available at the Web site.

Grid Application Planning and Implementation Workshop - Early Registration Open
A SURA Cyberinfrastructure Workshop on grid application planning and implementation will be held December 6-8, 2005 at the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The workshop is focused on faculty, researchers, developers, funding agencies, and planners from universities, research institutions, and funding agencies interested in the deployment and use of grids and grid applications. The deadline for early registration at a discounted rate is November 22.

Call for Contributors: The Emergence of Grid and Service-Oriented IT
Tabor Communications Inc., publisher of GRIDtoday and HPCwire, is offering participation opportunities for "The Emergence of Grid and Service-Oriented IT," a high-quality, full-color publication set to be released in January. For more information on featuring your organization with a paid participation in this publication, e-mail Anthony May ( or call (800) 795-4472.

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