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3rd IBERGRID Conference

 - 20/05/2009

Logotype of the 1st IBERGRID – Iberian Computation Grid Network ConferenceOn 20 - 22 May 2009 the 3rd IBERGRID Conference – Iberian Computation Grid Network took place in Valencia, Spain. IBERGRID was set up by a joint decision of the Spanish and Portuguese governments at the 22nd Luso-Spanish Summit in November 2006, with the objective of integrating the two countries’ Computation Grid infrastructures within a coherent network, thus increasing their computational capacity and stepping up cooperation between the two countries’ institutions and researchers working in this field.

As one of the instruments for intensifying collaboration between Spanish and Portuguese institutions and researchers working on Computation Grid activities, the decision was taken to hold a series of annual conferences, alternating from one country to the other. The 1st IBERGRID Conference – Iberian Computation Grid Network was held in Santiago de Compostela on 14-16 May 2007, only six months after the decision taken at the Luso-Spanish Summit of 2006 to establish IBERGRID and the 2nd IBERGRID Conference – Iberian Computation Grid Network was held exactly a year later in Porto, from 1 to 14 May 2008.

The 2009 IBERGRID Conference Programme includes presentations and discussions of various aspects of the Computation Grid and its applications, including those in Biomedicine, Materials Science, Forest Fires and Civil Defence, and Climate, Ecology and the evolution of the maritime coastline.

The union of Portugal and Spain in IBERGRID has enabled the construction of a joint network, under the scope of a project financed by the EU Framework Programme EGEE – Enabling Grids for E-sciencE in Europe, known as the European Southwest Federation, which at present has more than 1 500 CPUs and now plays a significant role in Europe’s GRID structure.

Portugal launched the National GRID Initiative (INGRID) on 29 April 2006. This initiative was planned, monitored and partially financed by The Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC), and the R&D work it carries out is done through funding granted by the Science and Technology Foundation (FCT), following a public tender for projects and independent international evaluation. A call for tender for funding for R&D and demonstration projects in GRID computation was launched by FCT in November 2006 and the INGRID’06 Day took place in Braga in the same month.

There are currently 15 R&D projects underway involving a total funding granted by FCT of around 1.7 million euros, which were approved in the public call for tenders opened in November 2006 which received 37 submissions. These projects involve Grid Computing applications in areas which range from data simulation and analysis of high energy Physics such as those produced by the LHC – Large Hadron Collider at CERN and plasma physics and nuclear fusion, to forecasting the evolution of the maritime coastline, simulating forest fires, mapping atmospheric pollution, protein structure simulation, medical applications storage and brain imaging.

In 2007, using financing from The Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) and the Operational Programme for the Knowledge Society (POSC) it was decided to establish a main node for the GRID infrastructure at FCCN (The Foundation for National Scientific Computation) which has involved setting up a large 400 m2 GRID data centre, and an increase in the Portuguese Grid infrastructure to around 1 178 CPUs (1.2% of the total of the 55 EGEE countries), 996 TeraBytes of disc memory (4.0% of the total of the 55 EGEE countries) and 2 PetaBytes of long-term memory on magnetic tape (3.8% of the total of the 55 EGEE countries) in June 2009. This has given Portugal a significant dimension at a European level, which already corresponds to a part of the European infrastructure considerably greater to the weighting of Portugal both in terms of R&D expenditure and in terms of GDP.

The National GRID Initiative (INGRID) has been able to reach this current situation starting from an extremely modest position in April 2006, given that the national infrastructure of GRID computing involved only 70 CPUs, 22 TeraBytes of disc memory and practically no magnetic tape memory.  That is, from 2006 to 2009 the number of CPUs multiplied more than 25 times, disc memory more than 45 times and magnetic tape memory went from being almost non-existent to an extremely high level within the international context.

The National GRID Initiative (INGRID) also envisaged strengthening national and international connectivity with a significant increase in the bandwidth of the national Science, Technology and Society Network (RCTS – Rede Ciência, Tecnologia e Sociedade), managed by FCCN and financed by UMIC. This increase in connectivity has been achieved through several projects: The installation of 400 Km of fibre optic cable from FCCN in Lisbon to Braga (in 2005) and from Porto to Valença (in 2007) and from Lisbon to the Fronteira do Caia with Spain (in 2008), reaching 1 000 Km of fibre optical cable of FCCN and enabling connections of up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) between research institutions and universities which corresponds to around 80% of all the Portuguese Higher Educational System (taking into account the size of the institutions), the connection to the Geant European teaching and research network through Spain, RCTS connection of to the Geant network at 10 Gbps in July 2008, representing more than an eightfold increase in the bandwidth of international connections which were available in July 2005.

A two year project funded by the EU was started in 2007 to prepare for the setting up and modelling of the organisation of the European Grid Initiative (EGI – European Grid Initiative). This project involves the national GRID initiatives of 38 countries, including the 27 EU countries as well as Belarus, Croatia, Israel, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey and the Ukraine. Portugal is represented by UMIC and by LIP, the senior figures of which form part of the GRID European Initiatives Policy Council, to which Professor Gaspar Barreira, the Director of LIP, was elected President.

In less than two years, Portugal had certainly put itself on the European GRID Computing map and ensured the means for Portugal and Spain to participate through a position of influence in decisions concerning the future of the European GRID initiative and the gigantic GRID Computing system which is being set up, and this position has been reinforced since then.

Last updated ( 19/08/2011 )