The European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) is a publicly funded e-infrastructure built to provide scientists and researchers with the computing tools they need for their work. Today, grid computing is helping us to understand better how the blood circulates in the body, the dynamics of ocean currents or how black holes are formed, just to give a few examples.
e-Infrastructure refers to the network of electronic resources (e.g. computer clusters, databases, tape archives, disks, etc.) frequently essential for today’s researchers. The grid provides a software layer network over this e-Infrastructure that allows scientists and researchers to share information securely, analyse data efficiently and collaborate with colleagues worldwide.
Many scientific problems today are too complex to be solved by a single scientist or a single research team. Modern challenges rely on large projects, cross-country collaborations and, above all, computing power to analyse vast amounts of data.
For example, the LHCb physics experiment at CERN (just one of four major projects) is a collaboration of more than 700 scientists and generates enough data to fill 300 CDs every hour. The Human Genome project (and related initiatives focusing on economically interesting animal and plant species) is another example of an international, data-intensive scientific project.
The trend for collaborative discovery will strengthen in the future to become the basis of new and exciting innovations in science, society and business. And so will the need for e-infrastructures – geographically distributed computing resources and data sources all linked by high-performance networks.