November 2005
E-Infrastructure: Europe Meets the e-Science Challenge
Carole Goble and Sean Bechhofer, University of Manchester, UK


Figure 2OntoGrid13 is an eight-partner EU FP6 project launched in October 2004 to investigate fundamental issues in Semantic Grids, bridging between the knowledge-based systems community and the Grid community. The project aims to show how knowledge technologies help deliver the next generation of Semantic Grid Computing systems and to experiment with the technological infrastructure needed for the development of knowledge-intensive, distributed open services for the Semantic Grid. The Semantic Grid should not only provide a general semantic-based computational infrastructure, but also a rich collection of knowledge services and knowledge-based services. Thus OntoGrid systematically brings together knowledge services (like ontology services, metadata stores and reasoning engines) with Grid services (such as workflow management, Virtual Organisation formation, debugging, resources brokering and data integration) adapted to semantic descriptions when they are available. This semantics-based approach to the Grid goes hand-in-hand with the exploitation of techniques from intelligent software agents and peer-to-peer (P2P) computing. OntoGrid mixes in techniques from agent computing for negotiation and coordination and peer-to-peer for distributed discovery (Figure 2).

OntoGrid is paving the way to Semantic Grids by investigating questions such as: Are semantic web technologies scalable? What’s the impact of a semantic approach to legacy grids? How do we minimize the impact? What are the minimum knowledge services needed? What should be their capabilities? How do we harvest and tend the semantic content? Is there content that is common for all Grids and how much is application specific? How, when and where does a semantic approach add value to a “traditional” Grid approach? What is an architectural framework for a Semantic Grid?

To keep our feet on the ground, the project is developing an architectural framework based on the emerging Open Grid Service Architecture (OGSA)14 and designed against two case studies from our applications in international insurance settlement and satellite data management: a Virtual Organisation Management System (VOMS) and intelligent debugging. Our first experiment is on a Semantically Aware VOMS, due in mid 2006. Most of the work has focused on a Reference Architecture for the Semantic Grid.

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Reference this article
Goble, C., Bechhofer, S. "OntoGrid: A Semantic Grid Reference Architecture ," CTWatch Quarterly, Volume 1, Number 4, November 2005. http://www.ctwatch.org/quarterly/articles/2005/11/ontogrid-a-semantic-grid-reference-architecture/

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