Thursday, July 16, 2009

BELIEF: From grids to sustainable interoperability

Prof. Edson Spina at the Opening Session of the BELIEF International Symposium, USP, Brazil.

The first day of the BELIEF International Symposium at USP started with a high note and brought to the surface a momentous agenda for all those interested in trends and opportunities related to grid computing and e-infrastructures.

An overall theme, underlying many presentations, was the challenge to promote a convergence between sustainability and interoperability of various e-infrastructures which have evolved from European investments and projects to this date.

In other words, grid computing is also moving into a new stage of development centered on sustainability and interoperability. This was a key element in RNP Michael Stanton's presentation, as he stressed that representative cooperation areas between the EU and Latin America in the future must be continuously examined and revised. EU's Paulo Lopes ringed a similar note, focusing on the importance of e-infrastructure for science in the next 15 years as research networks evolve in their interconnectedness.

In short, from both regional and scientific perspectives, digital convergence requires higher levels of interoperability and quality connections geared towards global challenges, economic development, innovation and micro-macro complex networking strategies, such as risk management in natural catastrophe monitoring.

For Lopes, the European Union has definitely opted for a global leadership drive, so that investments already made in e-infrastructure scale up to assure sustainability while leveraging large scale innovations. Important examples in this spirit were presented by Bernardo Marechal (EELA) and Rosita Wachenchauzer (PRO-IDEAL and Argentina's National Contact Point), who also led an open discussion on threats and risks such as the high tariffs in the telephony markets, the lack of adequate public policies, lagging investment in scientific programs and a short term bias among numerous policy makers.

Wachenchauzer stressed agriculture and agroindustrial areas which require excelling connectivity, especially in the hinterlands, while advanced applications such as industrial simulation and entertainment are also a pressing frontier. Moreover, important geopolitical initiatives such as the Digital Mercosur now present greater potential as tools to further regional integration, such as the integration of Paraguay into the Clara network, stressed Dr. Wachenchauzer. Susana Finquelevich, another leading authority from Argentina, underlined the social challenges that must be faced by the emerging sustainable grid paradigm.

Vahan Agopyan stressed the challenges that are emerging for policy makers, such as the need to renew the macro vision, the role of the State and regional features. A former director of the POLI School of Engineering and advisor to the Secretary of Development of the State of São Paulo, Agopyan brought the audience to the excellence of the e-infrastructures available as well as about to be deployed in the State of São Paulo. New paradigms are also needed in this perspective as cloud computing comes to the fore, according to Craig Lee. The convergence between telecommunication and computing frameworks make room for scientific and technological breakthroughs.

Later in the day, Frederico Ruggieri summed up the emerging challenges after realizing that implementation speeds and policy profiles are still far from ideal even in the European Union, whereas in other regions the urgency is even higher, but the difficulties to leapfrog economic development also scale up.

The final, consensual message that seems to come out of our first day is quite clear: a multi-region, multi-path sustainable and interoperable e-infrastructure is urgently needed. If not prone to fast implementation, it is certainly a timely and feasible challenge in face of the investments made to this date in European and Latin American grid computing projects and skills in science, health and education.

In order to effectively face these challenges, European funding is a key element insofar as policy, science and social leaders realize that it is but seed money which will only result in an acceleration of digital development if local and regional convergences are promoted from the bottom up with long term commitments at the global layer, encompassing technological, societal and economic dimensions.

Gilson Schwartz, Brazil Coordinator, PRO-IDEAL Consortium ( in collaboration with Sônia Barreto (Colabori Lab, School of Communication and Arts, USP) and Ezequiel Pordeus (City of Knowledge Research Group, USP Learning with Culture and Extension Program, Pro-Rectorate of Culture and Extension, USP).

1 comment:

Manisha Lalloo said...

Great post Gilson, really gives an insight into what's been discussed over there in Brazil