November 2005
E-Infrastructure: Europe Meets the e-Science Challenge
Fabrizio Gagliardi, EGEE Project Director – CERN
Bob Jones, EGEE Technical Director – CERN
Owen Appleton, EGEE Communications Officer – CERN

Prototype to applications – infrastructure in action

Figure 3: EGEE-II geographical extension through related projectsEGEE began with two pilot application domains, High Energy Physics (HEP) and Biomedical Science. The HEP domain includes close collaboration with LCG to process data from the international LHC experiment communities, but also includes applications from other HEP projects such as CDF, D0, Zeus and Babar. In the Biomedical Science field, some 10 different applications are already running, ranging from protein sequence analysis to molecular docking studies used to look for new treatments for Malaria.

In addition to these pilot domains, a number of other groups have joined the EGEE infrastructure since the project started, namely Computational Chemistry, Astrophysics, Earth Sciences and Geophysics. Such new groups can join the infrastructure through a system called the “Virtuous Cycle.” In this process, new communities become aware of the availability of the EGEE service through outreach events, personal contacts or through contacts with project members in their local area and can try the grid through online demonstrations. Following this, they interact with local resource centres, which provide access to resources and aid in porting applications to the EGEE infrastructure. This allows new applications to come from within the project in an organic manner and be identified with a nearby group able to communicate the new application’s requirements to the rest of the project. Once on the Grid, new application groups receive training in all the appropriate skills they need in order to make them a self supporting community. Finally, the new group becomes an established user community on the EGEE infrastructure, demonstrating to other potential users the benefits of Grid technology and encouraging them in turn to get involved with EGEE.

The vibrant and extensive user community formed from users in these application domains is in many ways EGEE’s greatest achievement. No other production grid infrastructure exists of this size or with this breadth of active users. Growing since the start of the project, the number of successful jobs per day on the infrastructure had exceeded 19,000 by June 2005. EGEE is not only breaking new ground in understanding the unique challenges that running such a truly interdisciplinary infrastructure presents, but also passing this knowledge on to sister projects in other parts of the world, industry and more focused Grid projects.

Apart from the various academic scientific communities that are involved with EGEE, the project also supports an industrial application from French firm Compagnie General de Geophysique (CGG), who support the EGEODE Virtual Organisation,10 used for basic geo-physics research. EGEODE benefits EGEE, CGG and the geophysics community in general by freely distributing the results of its research, as well as helping EGEE attune itself to industrial requirements and expectation for the future of Grid computing as a commercial service.

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Reference this article
Gagliardi, F., Jones, B., Appleton, O. "How to Build an International Grid: Infrastructure, Applications and Community," CTWatch Quarterly, Volume 1, Number 4, November 2005. http://www.ctwatch.org/quarterly/articles/2005/11/how-to-build-an-international-grid-infrastructure/

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