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DataGrid : a Grid testbed for three scientific applications

One of the challenges of building a Grid is that the software required - called middleware - barely exists. In engineering terms, it is like trying to build a suspension bridge before the technology for steel cables has been fully developed. CERN is not alone in facing this challenge. Other disciplines, such as bioinformatics and Earth observation, are also facing huge increases in computing and storage requirements, demanding similar technology. This is why CERN, together with a host of leading European research centres, took the initiative for the European DataGrid (EDG) project, to develop a testbed for Grid technologies.

EDG builds on a software toolkit for Grid technology known as Globus, developed in the US, as well as other software packages, and uses these to build a functioning Grid testbed. The project brings together over 100 computer engineers, who have already generated over 300 000 lines of code. In 2002, EDG middleware managed to connect computing resources at some 40 major centres, including extra-European sites such as Russia, South-Korea and Taiwan.

In collaboration with the LHC experiments CMS and ATLAS, a number of demanding computational challenges were successfully processed, proving that many components of the EDG software are ready for use in the LCG project.


The success of EDG has generated strong support for a follow-up effort to build a permanent European Grid infrastructure that can serve a broad spectrum of applications reliably and continuously. Providing such a service will require a much larger effort than setting up the current testbed. So CERN has established a pan-European consortium to build a production Grid infrastructure, called EGEE.

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The DataGrid Project