Guest posting from Steven Newhouse, EGEE technical director
WOW! What a week in Catania it has been. We've reached the final session of the joint EGEE User Forum, OGF 25 and OGF-Europe's 2nd International Event. Over 600 people have been battling with the narrow streets, the Italian traffic, the excellent and extensive menu's provided by the local restaurants and the overloaded tables from the conferences own caterers.
For me the week was the a hectic mixture of managerial and technical meetings stretching from early in the morning to late into the evening. Far too many of the former and not enough of the latter!
On Sunday the OGF standards council reviewed and finally approved the GLUE 2.0 schema. This was the result of two years of intensive work and review by the community. Its work that EGEE has been actively driving and will be implementing and deploying during the next year.
On Monday the big talking point was the Enterprise Grid Initiative. It started with workshop in the morning with an update on the current status from the EGI Design Study and ended with the announcement that Amsterdam and been selected to host EGI. This was a big announcement that will allow the transition from EGEE to EGI to move from abstract to concrete planning. Ensuring that EGEE's diverse user community are able to carry on using the e-infrastructure during this transition is one of EGEE's and my biggest concerns.
On Tuesday I was able to drop in to a few sessions and have a look at the contributions in the demo and poster area. One of the great things to see here was the fresh names and groups that were participating in the conference beyond those explicitly already involved in the project. The realisation that PhD students and researchers are able to take the software coming out of EGEE, connect to our resources, and to do publishable research work is a great personal achievement for them - but also a great testament to the maturity of the e-infrastructure that the project has now delivered to the European research community and their partners.
Wednesday was a day occupied (for me) by internal project meetings. These primarily revolved around our plans as to how we would alter the way we work in the second year of the project in order to smooth our transition to the model being developed by EGI. We are very much aware that there is still a lot of work to be done by all the partners involved in EGI in defining what EGI will be! However, EGEE will try and be flexible in moulding its programme of work to these plans when they develop. The torrential wind and rain that descended on the meeting was nothing compared to the stormy discussion that had taken place during the day.
Thursday was a day where finally I was able to sit through some technical sessions! The Production Grid Infrastructures Working Group, an area critical to standardising some of the common user interactions within EGEE, was my main area of interest. Involving groups from middleware developers from around the world it produced some very heated discussion but some progress! Work will resume next week with the phone calls and email discussions.
And finally Friday! After a long intensive week I was amazed at the passion people were still able to bring to the debate in the OGSA-WG session - me amongst them! Battling through the final technical session was nothing compared to battling through the brunch set up at the break. There was sufficient food and cakes for twice as many people that made it through to the end of the meeting. And with an update from the EGI Design Study team on the progress made this week, and the final award ceremony the meeting closed.
One last meeting, and then an afternoon of sightseeing before starting the trip back to Geneva. Roll on OGF 26 in Chapel Hill and the EGEE Conference in Barcelona in the September.