by Stephanie Parker

EchoGRID (European & Chinese Cooperation on Grids), has focused on boosting interactions between researchers in Europe and China by creating gateways, defining common approaches, developing shared visions, and testing interoperability for standards development through a series of PlugTests.

The final outcome is the EchoGRID Roadmap proposed for three, five, and ten year stages and addressing issues identified as being of mutual interest to researchers from academia and industry in China and Europe. New Programming Paradigms, Grid Architectures, Grid Management, Virtual Organizations, Component Models, Workflow - Business Processes are spotlighted as the top-level technological challenges for future collaborative developments in the drive towards the interoperability of open Grid services. Additionally, specific recommendations are targeted at EU and Chinese funding and research players, with the aim of facilitating the development of future research initiatives.

In order to make the EchoGRID vision a reality, there are a number of areas in which cooperation must be developed. Programming paradigm research activities must form the core of R&D projects; we must aim for dynamic service selection and business model support; the development of WS standards for Grids that also support backwards compatibility must be emphasized; and open-source competitors for tools that support distributed SOA infrastructures must be developed. Additionally, Grid management should place special emphasis on EU and Chinese research initiatives for SMEs and industry to experiment with innovative business models.

Mid-term goals for Virtual Organizations (VOs) include advancing their functionalities and subsequently aiming for semantic support in VOs. Further recommendations include the establishment of EU-China research groups to develop component models capable of supporting new properties of future Grid software; speeding up the development of programming frameworks for scientific and business applications; and ensuring the interoperability of different component models at different layers. Another important future goal is to define the composition of services as a focused research topic. Work in this area will bridge the gap between business and scientific workflows, while research projects bring the workflow/business process technology into sharp focus, with particular reference to far-reaching advances in the workflow tools.

A number of international conferences and focused workshops taking place in both regions over the last two years have served as important milestones for developing the roadmap. International events such as Beijing 2007 and 2008, Shenzhen 2008 and ICT2008 Networking Session have brought together enthusiasts and Grid experts from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), the European Commission, EC-funded projects and Chinese and European enterprises. These events showcased successful international partnerships in Grids, software and services, and e-Infrastructures, and provided forums in which to deliberate top-level challenges and foster continued cooperation. Focused workshops have brought to the table high-profile experts from within and outside the project to define and make contributions to the main themes underpinning the roadmap. These events have also served to establish effective synergies with EU initiatives, such as BRIDGE, GRIDCOMP, NESSI-GRID, RESERVOIR, 3S and Challengers, pinpointing areas of common interest and focus.

The EchoGRID project was funded by the European Commission from January 2007 to December 2008, and managed by ERCIM.

The roadmap can be downloaded from

Please contact:
Patricia Ho-Hune
ERCIM office

Next issue: October 2022
Special theme:
"Ethical Software Engineering and Ethically Aligned Design"
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