A short history of EGI

EGI is a federation of data centres set up to deliver advanced computing services for research. It is coordinated by the EGI Foundation and governed by the EGI Council.

The distributed computing grid was originally conceived in 1999 to analyse the experimental data produced by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN – the European particle physics laboratory located on the Swiss/French border.

The European DataGrid Project, which started in January 2001, led the research and development of grid technologies and proved the grid’s successful application in various research fields – high energy physics, Earth observation and bioinformatics. Starting from March 2004, a series of projects called EGEE (Enabling Grid for E-sciencE) took over the grid’s further development in what would result in three successive two-year phases.

A European Grid Initiative Design Study took place from September 2007 to December 2009. It established the conceptual and logistical framework for a permanent organisation to oversee the operation and development of the grid on a Europe-wide level.

The EGI Foundation, then named EGI.eu, was created on 8 February 2010 to coordinate and maintain the European Grid Infrastructure, a sustainable pan-European infrastructure to support European research communities and their international collaborators.

The EGI-InSPIRE project supported EGI operations for four years until December 2014 with the goal to create a seamless system ready to serve the demands of present and future scientific endeavours. One of the key achievements was the deployment of the EGI Federated Cloud in May 2014 (The Register news item).

The EGI-Engage project started in March 2015 to accelerate the implementation of the Open Science Commons by expanding the capabilities of a European backbone of federated services for compute, storage, data, communication, knowledge and expertise, complementing community-specific capabilities. (EGI-Engage summary at the Digital Single Market blog)

The EOSC-hub project started in January 2018 to bring together an extensive group of national and international service providers that will create the Hub: a central contact point for European researchers and innovators to discover, access, use and reuse a broad spectrum of resources for advanced data-driven research. EOSC-hub is led by the EGI Foundation.

The European Grid Infrastructure is now simply known as EGI.