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National GRID Initiative Launch

 - 22/06/2006

National GRID Initiative Logotype The launch of the National GRID Initiative will be held in the Pavilhão do Conhecimento in Lisbon on 29th April 2006 from 3 pm to 6.30 pm at a session chaired by the Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education. The Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) is in charge of preparing and organising this session and initiative.

The meeting agenda comprises interventions from guest speakers, namely from the European Commission, CERN and GRID research and computation centres in Spain, who will be speaking on the European Commission’s vision of GRID computation and various European projects in this field, including infrastructure, scientific and medical imaging projects. Speakers will present the state of play of GRID Computation in Portugal and international cooperation projects in this field, which will be discussed by a panel of researchers and companies from different parts of Portugal.

The session includes the signing of a cooperation agreement between UMIC and IBM Portugal regarding this company’s support for actions in the scope of the National GRID Initiative, by providing GRID Computation specialists who will take part in conferences, colloquia, seminars and debates hosted by UMIC and by supplying software and educational material for researchers and professors from scientific and Higher Education institutions.

What is GRID Computation?

GRID Computation is a distributed computing technology that emerged from the idea of applying the philosophy and operational principles behind the World Wide Web (WWW) to computing processing to make information available globally. In actual fact, the WWW made it possible to make an enormous amount of information available in distributed form and via thousands of regular computers, which would be impossible to do with a small number of computers, even if they were extremely powerful. Similarly, GRID Computation manages to make high computational capabilities available by distributing processing tasks between different computers in a coordinated and efficient manner.

This computational mode has been made possible by major advances in network technologies. In truth, to make the enormous potential of GRID Computation patently clear, we just have to bear in mind in recent years the increase in transmission speed capabilities for data in fibre-optic networks has been roughly double that of the increase in microprocessor speeds. However, more significant and more cost-efficient increases in computational capabilities have become possible through harnessing the increased capabilities from networks better than the increased capabilities of microprocessors. The same is true for the storage of large quantities of data.

GRID Computation makes shared computational processing and storage resources available to the most diverse of user communities in an efficient, transparent and safe manner. This includes resources organised in clusters of interconnected GRID processors over high speed networks, which enables access to high processing capabilities for anyone connected to GRID by broadband.

GRID Computation therefore stands as an alternative to super-computers for processing computation tasks that require high performance, enabling science, engineering and different areas of social or economic interest that require access to enormous amounts of computing resources to progress. It is also a way to make the most of frequently under-used resources within their capabilities or even by making these resources totally available at certain times.
What is GRID Computation for?

GRID Computation enables us to revolutionise the way we work in science and technology in various fields. At a time when scientific work in any knowledge field produces ever more information, for example in decoding the human genome, curing infectious contagious, immunological or carcinogenic diseases, or studying the behaviour of energy matter, in experiments using particle accelerators whose data are analysed and shared by researchers around the globe, GRID Computation offers answers to the huge demands on computing and storage capacity that processing large amounts of data places. Furthermore, with large computing simulation systems, such as those used in meteorology, oceanography, genomics and proteomics, GRID Computation enables distributed computing resources to be linked up to solve problems which require high computing performance.

For example, the CrossGrid project, whose infrastructure includes central management systems installed in Portugal under the responsibility of LIP – Laboratory for Instrumentation and Experimental Particle Physics, includes the following: applications for the control, forecasting and simulation of floods in river basins, atmospheric pollution modelling applications and other meteorology support services, as well as a vascular surgery support application. With this last application, using a patient’s CAT or magnetic resonance images, a surgeon can simulate the effect of a by-pass and visualise blood flow, deciding on the best solution for the intervention through successive attempts. This application enables the intervention time to be cut to a few hours between the image being taken and the optimised surgical intervention using prior simulation.

GRID Computation also gives a fresh outlook for the creation of new products and services, affecting the way companies conduct their business. Major financial companies use GRID Computation to carry out increasingly more detailed risk analyses, which, in turn, lead to the creation of new financial services for clients. Another example is that of pharmaceutical companies for whom this technology enables easier access to ever greater computing capacity, which makes it possible for new compounds to be discovered and more in-depth analysis of the risks associated with medicines before they are marketed. There are many banks among the pioneer companies adopting GRID Computation systems and recent international reports predict rising use of GRID Computation systems by companies in the financial sector.


  • Consolidate national GRID Computation competences and capabilities due to their special strategic importance.
  • Continue with Portugal’s integration in the international GRID Computation network.
  • Improve conditions for scientific activities and applications of economic and social interest that involve complex computing or large amounts of data.
  • Step up multi-disciplinary work and collaboration between the community of researchers and users of high performance computing resources.
  • Improve conditions so that companies can find scientific institutions and human resources with GRID Computation knowledge and experience in Portugal.


The body responsible or implementation of the National GRID Initiative is the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). The Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) will be responsible for observing and monitoring the initiative.


The National GRID Initiative includes actions for computing infrastructures, high-speed connectivity in Portugal and with international infrastructures, R&D projects, application and demonstration projects with strong international links, training, international evaluation, observation, monitoring and dissemination of information.

pdf: Program of the National GRID Initiative Launch Session (in Portuguese)  (20.04 KB)

National GRID Initiative Site (in Portuguese) >>

Last updated ( 16/07/2010 )