The GRID technology aims to develop an effective multidisciplinary, widely distributed, computing network (from PC to supercomputers), through very high speed connectivity, based on user-transparent computing services (middleware) offered via Internet (open software) to the science and application user community.
Welcome to the ESA GRID Home Page
The challenge is to provide a real "collaborative" science infrastructure together with high performing processing and high-speed network developments. Scalability of hardware and software to perform at least 1000 times faster of present ICT is the ultimate technology goal (i.e. Gbps networks, Gflops computing power and Petabyte memories).
In Europe, the most advanced science group in developing GRID environments has been the one in High Energy Physics (i.e. operating around CERN), and few countries (e.g. UK, I, F, D, NL) have taken important funding measures for developing and promoting this technology.
In line with the Commissioner Busquin directive's for the European Research Area (e-Europe, e-science), the European Commission has made impressive progress in funding few key projects (e.g. GEANT, DataGRID, etc). New opportunities for the deployment of GRID based applications will be soon defined as result of the 6th IST call dedicated to GRID developments as Cross IST Programme Action.
Furthermore, the development of the GRID technology is considered one of the priority axes in the preparation of the next RTD Framework Programme (2003-2006), as discussed in a dedicated workshop (Brussels, 23 March 2001, http://dbs.cordis.lu/fep-cgi/srchidadb?CALLER=EN_NEWS_EVENT&ACTION=R).
Access to National and Trans-European Research Networks for operational use has been until now considered not adequate for meeting ESA requirements. As such, also the development and use of information services considered as core of the GRID technologies are not part of the traditional ESA system culture.
The recent progress in the availability of very high speed Trans-European Research Networks (i.e. GEANT will provide in the coming 2 years connectivity up to 10 Gbps) requires some specific reassessment of the potential benefits. In the last period, also in ESA we have started to propose studies, technology developments and ideas related to GRID technology.
The aim of the ESA GRID Interest Group is to foster relations amongst all ESA Programmes interested in making use of GRID Infrastructure and common activities for the benefit of all its communities. Unlike the High Energy Physics Community, ESA's community is diverse. It encompasses areas such as Space Science, Earth Observation, Manned Spaceflight, Telecommunications and other Technical Programmes dealing with Space and Space Industry.
The challenges of dealing with such a wide range of activities ranges from aspects of Flight Simulations to Data Handling to Teamwork Management. The Interest Group's first and foremost task is to evaluate and meet the challenges from all these groups by bringing together the expertise from a variety of backgrounds and enabling the setting up of test beds and infrastructure to cater to the needs of these communities.
In the coming years the ESA GRID Interest Group shall strive to continue to expand its activities to all ESA domains and to foster a tight working relationship with all GRID Bodies within Europe.