The Cambridge eScience Centre


CeSC Technical Forum

The National Grid Service

Andy Richards (CCLRC Daresbury)

2pm, Wednesday June 16th 2004
Meeting Room 5, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Wilberforce Road.

Dr. Andy Richards, the co-ordinator of the UK eScience National Grid Service, gave a brief introduction to the NGS, its configuration, expected usage and how to gain access.

The slides from the talk are available here


April 2004 marked the start of the introductory production stage of the UK National Grid Service (NGS), where so called 'early bird' users have been invited to use the service. This stage is designed to show what the service can offer, attract further interest from projects and researchers, and to test the hardware and installed software.

Through the work of its Committee for the Support of Research, JISC has been active in providing infrastructure and development support for eResearch, that is, any research carried out electronically. One of the key technologies that will serve researchers in an electronic environment is the Grid. The Grid enables participants to reuse resources, sharing them beyond the boundary of their institution. It is also being developed to build upon the concept of a virtual organisation, bringing people together from across physical organisations.

In partnership with the Core eScience Programme JISC has recognised the need for a National Grid Service in order to allow researchers and practitioners across the UK to access high performance computer facilities that they would not normally be able to afford or reach. JISC is funding hardware costs for three of the four clusters in the National Grid Service, and support costs for all four clusters. The Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils funds the hardware costs for the fourth cluster. These resources come in the form of "data clusters" and "computational clusters". The concept of "clustering" is essential to the vision of the Grid, and describes the process of using multiple computers to form what appears to be a single system to external users.

Researchers can apply for access to the National Grid Service using the online form on the NGS website. The service is open to all, but users are asked to make a valid case as to what they wish to use the service for and over what period of time in order to ensure the computers are utilised in the most efficient way for the benefit of all.

See the National Grid Service website for further background.

All are welcome to attend.

How to get here

Please email if you intend to come, letting us know in particular if you would like a parking space.


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