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

Semantic Grid Challenges

Grid Services currently deal with this semantic infrastructure in ad-hoc and hidden ways, providing poor mechanisms for sharing and openly processing knowledge. This makes the knowledge hard to share, and hard to interpret by services other than the originators. Often these schemas are fixed, which makes them rather inflexible. Much of the metadata is hard-coded and buried in code libraries, type systems, or grid applications. This makes it hard to adapt and configure. Finally, understanding and know-how is frequently tacit, embedded in best practice and experience rather than explicitly recorded. This makes sharing, customisation and adaptation difficult, and dependent on scarce human effort. The Semantic Grid aims to provision a semantic infrastructure for Grid infrastructure to improve sharing, enable unanticipated reuse of resources, support interoperability and enable more flexible and configurable middleware.

OntoGrid is a step towards the Semantic Grid. There are many challenges to explore. Many are technical—architectural or theoretical foundations, the maturity of semantic and grid technologies, their appropriateness for the required tasks, their scalability, the separation of grid level and application specific semantics, and making it easier not harder by combining semantic infrastructure with Grid computing infrastructure. Others are operational—gathering and maintaining the semantic content, reliance on unavailable tooling, and convincingly showing the added value of semantics when the return on investment may come downstream, be long term and benefit developers other than the originators. Some are sociological and political—the interplay between the Semantic and the Grid communities, the inter-factional battles within those communities and the legal, security and privacy implications of clearly exposed metadata and automated reasoning.

Acknowledgements The OntoGrid Consortium: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain (Co-ordinator), The University of Manchester, UK, The University of Liverpool UK, Technical University of Crete (TUC), Greece, Intelligent Software Components, Spain, Y’all B.V., The Netherlands, Deimos Space, S.L, Spain, Boyd International, B.V. The Netherlands. This work is supported by the EU FP6 OntoGrid project (STREP 511513) funded by the Grid-based Systems for solving complex problems.

BIRN Biomedical Informatics Research Network. An NIH initiative supporting distributed collaborations in biomedical science. http://www.nbirn.net/
CIM Common Information Model. A common definition of management information for systems, networks, applications and services. http://www.dmtf.org/standards/cim/
CMCS Collaboratory for Multi-scale Chemical Science. Project supporting collaboration through the use of adaptive infrastructure. http://cmcs.ca.sandia.gov/
DFDL Data Format Description Language. A language for describing the structure of binary and character encoded (ASCII/Unicode) files and data streams. http://forge.gridforum.org/projects/dfdl-wg/
EGEE Enabling Grids for E-SciencE. EU funded project building grid infrastructure for scientists. http://public.eu-egee.org/
GGF Global Grid Forum. The community of users, developers, and vendors leading the global standardization effort for grid computing. http://www.ggf.org/
gLite A lightweight middleware framework from the EGEE project. http://glite.web.cern.ch/glite/
GT(4) Globus Toolkit (4). An open source software toolkit used for building Grid systems and applications. Developed by the Globus Alliance. http://www.globus.org/toolkit/
JSDL Job Submission Description Language. https://forge.gridforum.org/projects/jsdl-wg/
Matlab A language and environment supporting computationally intensive tasks. http://www.mathworks.com/
OGSA Open Grid Services Architecture. A set of core capabilities and behaviours that address key concerns in Grid systems. http://www.globus.org/ogsa/
OGSA-DAI OGSA Data Access and Integration. Middleware to assist with access and integration of data from separate data sources via the grid. http://www.ogsadai.org/
OMII Open Middleware Infrastructure Institute. An EPSRC funded initiative providing reliable, interoperable and open-source Grid middleware. http://www.omii.ac.uk/
P2P Peer to Peer. Architectures which allow autonomous peers to interoperate in a decentralized, distributed manner for fulfilling individual and/or common goals
SAML Security Assertion Markup Language. A language for exchanging authentication and authorization data between security domains. http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=security
S-OGSA Semantic OGSA.
VO Virtual Organisation. Flexible, secure, coordinated resource sharing among dynamic collections of individuals, institutions, and resources.
VOMS Virtual Organisation Management Service. A service managing a VO.
WSRF Web Services Resource Framework. A framework defining conventions for modelling and accessing stateful resources using Web services http://www.globus.org/wsrf/
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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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