Europe's first interactive system bringing GRID technology to the final user

April 29, 2005

GRID technology, one of the latest systems that has been developed for linking computing resources, connects hundreds of large computers so they can share not only data itself, but also data processing capability and large storage capacity. This technology has now taken an important step forward: the hardware and tools required to make the interface interactive have become available. The UAB has participated in the project, taking charge of creating software to coordinate access between the different computers in the new system.

Ever since the internet was created, it has developed and advanced as new services have been introduced that have made it easier to access and send data between remote computers. Electronic mail and the easy-to-use interactive interface known as the World Wide Web are just two of the most important services that have helped to make the internet as popular as it is today.

The most important new feature is that the system is interactive. The user works with a "virtual desktop" using commands and graphics windows that allow clear and easy access to all the resources on the GRID network, just like when someone browses through folders on a laptop computer. This system has enormous potential in many different fields.

One possible application is in those fields in which one needs to transform large quantities of information into knowledge, using simulations, analysis techniques and data mining, to make decisions. For example, a surgeon working from a remote location who needed to suggest different configurations for a bypass operation using information obtained through a scan on the patient could compare different simulations and observe in real time the blood flow in each simulation. Thanks to the new interactive system the surgeon would be able to use the simulations to make the best possible decision.

Another type of problem for which the new system could be useful would be in procedures requiring huge data processing capabilities and access to large distributed databases. This would be the case for an engineer in a thermal power station who needed to decide upon the best time to use different fuels, taking into account the way pollution would spread based on a specific weather model for the local area around the station.

Led by Miquel Бngel Senar, of the UAB's Graduate School of Engineering (ETSE), the research team at the Universitat Autтnoma de Barcelona has developed the software needed to coordinate and manage interactive use of the GRID network. The software allows several processors to be used simultaneously. The task of this service developed at the UAB is to carry out automatically all the steps required so that the user applications may be run in one of the GRID resources selected in a clear way by the service itself.

The system was developed as part of CrossGRID, a European project which received a five million euro investment and the support of 21 institutions from across Europe. In Spain, in addition to those from the UAB, there are also researchers from the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the University of Santiago de Compostela playing a vital role in the project. The team from the CSIC was responsible for the first application of the system: a neural network to search for new elementary particles in physics; the team from the University of Santiago de Compostela adapted an application for measuring air pollution as explained above in the example of the thermal power station.

Source: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

Explore further: Stressed young birds stop learning from their parents and turn to wider flock

Related Stories

Eddystone: Cross-platform beacon format gets Google launch

July 15, 2015

Google is introducing the Eddystone beacon format. On Tuesday Google launched a beacon technology called Eddystone along with APIs. Together, they will make it easier for devices in close proximity to communicate. Numerous ...

Better views of slimy substances

July 10, 2015

Scientists can now see biofilms, structured communities of microbes, in 3D and real time thanks to a laboratory instrument developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The instrument-a microfluidic reactor called System ...

Recommended for you

Cellphones can steal data from 'air-gapped computers'

July 28, 2015

Researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) Cyber Security Research Center have discovered that virtually any cellphone infected with a malicious code can use GSM phone frequencies to steal critical information ...

'Expansion entropy': A new litmus test for chaos?

July 28, 2015

Can the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? This intriguing hypothetical scenario, commonly called "the butterfly effect," has come to embody the popular conception of a chaotic system, in which ...

'Carbon sink' detected underneath world's deserts

July 28, 2015

The world's deserts may be storing some of the climate-changing carbon dioxide emitted by human activities, a new study suggests. Massive aquifers underneath deserts could hold more carbon than all the plants on land, according ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.