by Bruno Le Dantec

Further to the success of the previous three events, ERCIM, ETSI, and INRIA teamed again this year to organise the 4th GRID Plugtests. The event, hosted by CNIC, the Computer Network Information Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, took place in Beijing from 28 October to 2 November 2007.

The events brought together more than 130 Grid experts and users from academia and industry from many European countries and China. It was co-located with a series of conferences and tutorials at which several Grid research projects met and networked. Participants learned about Grid perspectives for research activities and industrial applications, compared some running European and Chinese Grid middleware and were informed on the efforts made by the Grid community toward interoperability.

Workshops, Tutorials and 'All EC Projects' Meetings
EchoGrid, the project on European and Chinese Cooperation on the Grid, held its second public workshop. Over two days, presenters from Europe and China exchanged and compared past work and exciting ideas for the coming years on four topics, namely: new programming paradigms, trust and security, Grid workflow and Grid middleware for industrial applications. The outcomes will be used to draft the EchoGrid roadmap during the next consortium meeting in Roma in January 2008.

The GridComp project (Grid Programming with Components) organised its internal management meeting together with an open Proactive/GCM tutorial; this was used to present interactively the ProActive middleware for parallel, distributed and multi-threaded computing. This middleware provides the reference implementation of the Grid Component Models (GCM). At the end of the day, participants were able to develop, deploy and test ProActive/GCM applications.

Discussions relating to the Bridge project (Cooperation between Europe and China to Develop Grid Applications) were centred on successfully obtaining interoperability requirements from the application partners, and finalizing the design of the joint interoperability architecture needed by the project. The first Bridge prototype will be delivered before the end of the year.

All three European projects are partially funded by the European Commission. EchoGrid and Gridcomp are managed by ERCIM, while Bridge is managed by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. In the middle of the week, EchoGrid organised an all-EC Projects meeting to exchange information between the above projects and to organise a dedicated session on the description and comparison of the different middleware in use by Chinese and European projects. Representatives of five types of middleware participated in this exercise (Proactive/GCM, EGEE gLite, GRIA, CNGrid GOS and CROWNE), using a dedicated questionnaire defined prior to the meeting. A very interesting and exciting question and answer session followed the presentations.

IV Grids@Work Plugtest
The goal of this year's challenge was to write the best Grid distributed program that could count a maximum number of solutions within a limited amount of time to the well-known N-Queens problem. The finalist teams competing had to write a program able to work out solutions to the N-Queens problem using a Grid. All jobs were submitted from Beijing using the ProActive middleware on a worldwide Grid made available by Grid5000 (FR), In Trigger (JP), PoweRcost (IT) and DAS (NL). These jobs were then executed on the Grid during a fixed time slot and results evaluated according to their performance (number of solutions found, ability to use a maximum of grid nodes, CPU time etc). The winner of this 2007 contest is KAAPI-MOAIS, France represented by Xavier Besseron, with ~ 40 379 billion solutions found. Deployed on 3654 workers, it computed for the first time N=23 in 35min 7s and N=22 in 3min 21s.

Plugtest participants.
Plugtest participants.

This highly oriented Grid week was a clear success. It facilitated the exchange of good experiences and best practices on the use of Grid open standards for Grid middleware and applications interoperability, and helped to reinforce existing links between the two Grid communities and to promote long and lasting partnerships.

IV Grids@Work conference:

Please contact:
Florence Pesce, ERCIM office
Tel: +33 49238 5073

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