The EGEE-III Networking Activities are designed to:
- Ensure the management of the project and its consortium;
- Provide appropriate dissemination of EGEE-III’s goals and achievements throughout the course of the project, ensuring the project is made attractive to potential users of the Grid infrastructure;
- Provide an effective training service to new user communities and guide them in their use of the infrastructure;
- Work closely with the user communities, established and new, to ensure their requirements are addressed in a timely and effective manner; helping applications to get started and bridge towards a sustainable model with education and training;
- Coordinate internal cooperation efforts, standardisation and policy work with similar projects and initiatives;
- Provide an effective business programme to attract commercial users and ensure appropriate technology transfer.
The EGEE networking activities consist of five activities:
- NA1: Management of the Consortium
- NA2: Dissemination, Communication and Outreach
- NA3: User Training and Induction
- NA4: User Community Support and Expansion
- NA5: Policy and International Cooperation
Each of these is summarised below. The figure illustrates interactions between the activities.
NA1: Management of the Consortium
The objective of this activity is provide:
- Overall project management and reporting to the European Commission;
- Daily management of the project activities, resource allocation and monitoring;
- Conflict resolutions and corrective actions;
- Overall Quality Assurance for the project;
- Establish and maintain relations with key external bodies and projects;
- Collaborate with EGI_DS to ensure long-term sustainability plans are successful.
The EGEE-III project is the third in the EGEE programme which started under the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme in 2004. The EGEE programme has seen a constant increase in the number of user communities supported, countries and sites connected to the infrastructure, collaborating projects and partners in the consortium. The management activity of the project will build on the experience gained by its predecessors to cope with these increases while remaining lean in terms of resources required and efficient in its decision-making processes. The NA1 activity will provide the necessary support to allow for an effective technical/strategic, administrative and financial management of the project.
NA2: Dissemination, Communication and Outreach
The objective of the NA2 activity is to spread the word about the project’s achievements, reach out to current and new adopters of the infrastructure and prepare for a sustainable infrastructure to follow after EGEE-III through a clear dissemination plan by:
- Designing and keeping the project’s website up to date (it will also host the activity webpages);
- Increasing Grid awareness and knowledge through a wide range of specialist and non-specialist media and presence at both user and IT events;
- Contributing to the edition of up-to-date information to users in conjunction with other activities;
- Producing and distributing written material about the project;
- Producing the project internal newsletter and providing contributions to the online iSGTW newsletter;
- Ensuring journalistic and media coverage of EGEE and its activities;
- Identifying key events the project should attend and coordinate consequent presence (stands, talks, material, presentations, etc.);
- Liaising closely with the project management, training and business activity to coordinate dissemination tasks.
EGEE-III will consolidate the use of the infrastructure by a wide variety of scientific communities and using technology transfer, strengthen its outreach to business users. The Dissemination, Communication and Outreach activity will play a key role in reaching out to current and new adopters of the infrastructure as well as preparing for a sustainable infrastructure to follow after EGEE-III. Professional communicators with experience in different fields will provide potential user groups with the information they need to understand the benefits of adopting Grid technology, but also its limitations, to create realistic expectations of what the technology can offer.
Through five specific, dedicated tasks the project will broadcast the benefits and possibilities of using the EGEE infrastructure and services to both existing and new user communities. For existing communities, such as Life Sciences or Particle Physics, EGEE will strengthen its user base by attracting a wider range of applications and user groups, expanding from the early adopters currently using the infrastructure. In addition, EGEE-III will reach out to new fields, which at present do not use Grids, using success stories from current Grid users in fields such as astrophysics, earth science or fusion to show them the potential of the Grid for solving their computing problems. There are many new areas such as social sciences, environmental or material
sciences that could benefit from using the Grid.
The most effective and common tool for presenting the project, its goals and achievements throughout its lifetime is through a well-structured, accessible and easy to navigate website. NA2 will hold the responsibility of designing and maintaining this website, which will also host all activity-specific webpages.
Further, NA2 will raise Grid awareness and knowledge through a widely differing range of channels, including specialist and non-specialist media, and in particular will have a notable presence at both user and IT events, working together with other activities to define the most important and promising conferences and meetings to reach out to new users. The material produced by NA2 will be targeted to specific audiences including users, resource providers, decision makers, governmental representatives and journalists. NA2 will provide material to iSGTW (international Science Grid This Week), a collaborative weekly web-based newsletter in close collaboration with the GridTalk project. iSGTW will publish articles about advances in the project, new applications, new uses in industry and business and general Grid news to a constantly increasing audience.
CERN which will concentrate on the activity management and content production. This model will ensure concentrated effort on the activity’s key tasks, however a specific task is included to provide specific regional support for dissemination and knowledge transfer to all the countries in the consortium, covering translation of material into local languages, communication with local press, local website support, etc. The Press Offices of the EGEE-III partner institutes will be requested to support these regional dissemination centres to spread the word about the project, provide contacts and distribute press releases, etc. The same applies to Technology Transfer offices at EGEE-III partner institutes (where existing), who will be requested to support the business activities of EGEE-III. This regional structure will also serve in the preparation of a sustainable infrastructure to follow after EGEE-III.
NA3: User Training and Induction
NA3 will deliver a comprehensive training programme for EGEE users and resource providers alike. A special focus is laid on making training sustainable by transferring the knowledge in the “train the trainers” programme and via a comprehensive online learning programme.
The overall objective of NA3 in EGEE-III is to stimulate and support the development of training provision mechanisms associated with the emerging national and region Grid organisations which will form the future structures to support local training provision.
This will require a number of sub-tasks to implement and these are listed below:
- To further expand and refine the portfolio of training material and courses, to provide training resources for an ever-widening range of Grid applications.
- To train a wide variety of users, both those within the EGEE consortium and those from outside the project who make use of the EGEE Grid infrastructure.
- To further develop effective mechanisms for passing on knowledge to end-users of EGEE related projects.
- To expand the online learning services within EGEE-III, to meet the needs of an expanded project and larger user-base.
- To support and complement the provision of t-infrastructure on the GILDA testbed by developing and maintaining an expanded range of training resources to cover an increasingly diverse range of application scenarios.
The overall goal of NA3 in EGEE-III will be to stimulate and support the development of local training resources in the federations with the aim of moving towards an established European e-Infrastructure, which is supported by National Grid Initiatives each of which provides the training required for their local user communities. In this vision there will still be a requirement for an activity which coordinates and disseminates information and best practices as well as provides support mechanism for trainers, thus giving them access to materials and systems which are not available locally and would be prohibitively expensive to duplicate in every region.
The NA3 activity will develop the sustainable training capacity of the Member States by encouraging recruitment of trainers, training trainers, supporting those trainers as they start to work independently and by developing a pool of shared best practice, materials and resources. This will build on the considerable successes in these tasks established in predecessor projects EGEE and EGEE-II. Thus consolidating the achievements of the previous projects and moving towards a mature, self sustaining model in parallel with the overall development of the e-Infrastructures in Europe.
NA3 will also provide training resources and organise training courses for potential and actual Grid users who are involved in the project as well as for those outside the project who make use of the EGEE infrastructure. These training events serve two purposes: to develop and validate the shared pool of best practice, training material and resources, and to directly meet user, developer and systems administration communities requirements. It is recognised that this second function, the direct provision of training by EGEE-III, is not sufficiently scalable and sustainable. Hence, as EGEE-III progresses there will be a growing emphasis on developing local and federated training capabilities.
The courses offered cover a wide range of competences and abilities from induction-level courses focused on newcomers to Grid computing to more advanced courses aimed at application developers providing them with the required skills to successfully port and implement applications on EGEE. Other courses are designed for site administrators to provide them with the necessary skills to operate a reliable EGEE site. The provision of commercial Grid training is likely to increase in significance as uptake of Grid technologies by businesses grows. Continued development and update of these courses are required to track the unabated development of middleware, applications and operational services.
NA4: User Community Support and Expansion
The overall goal of this activity is to ensure that Grid technology and the EGEE infrastructure are used successfully by a broad spectrum of scientific collaborations. The activity focuses its efforts in three areas:
Support for virtual organisations (VOs) and for their users is vital for ensuring high levels of satisfaction with the EGEE infrastructure. “Support” is a broad term that includes several activities each requiring different expertise. Three distinct teams will provide:
Virtual Organisation Support aimed at easing the management of users within a VO as well as the large and growing number of VOs using EGEE;
Application Porting Support to aid developers in effectively porting a VO’s applications to the Grid;
Direct User Support to help users with day-to-day problems when using the Grid.
These teams provide managerial support, technical consulting, and operational support, respectively, for all users of the EGEE infrastructure. Each team will interact with support teams of national or regional Grid initiatives through liaisons funded by EGEE. Similarly, they will interact with identified support teams from the larger and more established virtual organisations, such as the integration team (EIS) for the LHC community.
Strategic Discipline Clusters are central to the development of the services provided by the infrastructure. Scientific areas have been chosen based on their scientific merit and on the potential value to the advancement of Grid technology by their intensive use of existing services and the development of new high level application oriented services. The mature areas chosen for such work are high energy physics, life sciences, earth sciences, computational chemistry, astronomy and astrophysics, and fusion. In addition we propose a new area which aims to research on the implementation of a Grid Observatory, to develop a scientific view of the patterns of Grid usage, problems and recovery.
Community building aims to minimize the effort required to support the numerous virtual organisations and users exploiting the EGEE infrastructure by making them as self-reliant as possible. First, EGEE-III will bring users from different scientific disciplines together to share their experiences and techniques and help support one another. Second, the project will encourage adoption of Grid technologies and coordinate use of common resources and services within particular disciplines. These activities target both new and existing user communities.
The technical issues and critical disciplines will shift significantly over the lifetime of the project. Similarly, we expect the users most involved with EGEE to change dynamically as their experience develops and their needs change. To address this fluid situation, we consequently propose to fund travel and participation by users who are not members of the EGEE-III consortium in interdisciplinary, intra-disciplinary, and topical meetings to achieve the community building goals, rather than funding the salaries of participants.
This activity does not operate or manage any Grid services or computational resources for the virtual organisations using the EGEE platform. As a rule, EGEE federates distributed resources; consequently, virtual organisations are expected to integrate their own computational resources in the EGEE infrastructure following the procedures of, and using the support from, other EGEE-III activities. New virtual organisations may be authorized to use a pool of reserved resources (referred to as “seed resources” in this document) to accelerate their use of the EGEE production infrastructure.
Vigorous programmes in each of the above three areas will increase the attractiveness of the EGEE infrastructure, accelerate the adoption of Grid technologies, and increase the satisfaction of those currently using the EGEE production service. A coordination task, crucial for the success of the activity, will ensure that the provided services are well-managed in order to maximize their impact on and within user communities and ensure that virtual organisations can efficiently find the help they need during all phases of their development.
NA5: Policy and International Cooperation
NA5 will coordinate EGEE’s policy related activities, international cooperation efforts, standardisation, and the drive towards a sustainable Grid infrastructure. Its main objectives are:
- Contribute to the e-Infrastructures Reflection Group (e-IRG);
- Cooperate with other projects and other geographical areas;
- Follow and actively monitor EGEE’s commitment to actively engage in Grid and security related standards;
- Establish links with the EGI Design Study Project and actively monitor the progress towards the EGI/NGI model.
NA5 will deal with policy related activities, international cooperation efforts, standardisation, and the drive towards a sustainable Grid infrastructure.
Regarding policy-related activities, NA5 will promote the establishment of European policies pertaining to Research Infrastructures, especially those related to Grid technologies. NA5 will strongly cooperate with the e-Infrastructures Reflection Group (e-IRG, http://www.e-irg.org/), of which the EGEE-III Project Director is an observer, and its support programme, currently referred to as the e-Infrastructures Reflection Group Support Programme (e-IRGSP). It will also contribute to and further support the e-IRG specific tasks, such as the white papers, roadmaps, and recommendations produced by the group. NA5 will contribute directly to these e-IRG products and coordinate the input from different EGEE-III activities.
International cooperation efforts will cover cooperation with other projects and other geographical areas. Concerning the former, NA5 will follow the progress of other projects collaborating with EGEE with a focus on the cross-impact and mutual benefits between EGEE and these projects. With respect to other geographical areas, EGEE will continue to monitor and synchronize with projects extending the infrastructure to other geographical areas such as South Eastern Europe (SEE-GRID-SCI), the Baltic States (BalticGrid), the Mediterranean (EUMedGrid), Latin America (EELA), China (EUChinaGrid), India (EUIndiaGrid), Africa; major efforts in the United States such as OSG and TeraGrid; and the Pacific region including NAREGI in Japan, KGrid in Korea, Taiwan, etc.
Standardisation is an essential enabler for ubiquitous Grid infrastructures. NA5 will follow and actively monitor EGEE’s commitment to engage in Grid and security-related standards, mainly via the Open Grid Forum (OGF). It will monitor the progress and evolution of relevant standardisation bodies and stimulate the participation and active contribution to standards, especially from the relevant technical activities. NA5 will promote these standardisation efforts to progress jointly with related initiatives or collaborating infrastructures as mentioned above.
The EGEE programme has been a driving force for a sustainable Grid infrastructure for Europe, which will ensure continuity after the end of EGEE-III and the transition to permanent structures, i.e., a central organisation currently referred to as the European Grid Initiative (EGI) collaborating with national bodies (National Grid Initiatives). Although this will be the subject of a separate project, namely the EGI Design Study project, EGEE will establish links and ensure that its voice is heard at the appropriate discussions and forums.