Recently I was asked to join the GridCast team as a blogger, sharing my ideas, opinions and experiences of the Grid world from a place that rarely gets coverage : South Africa. I'm the coordinator of the South African National Grid (see http://www.sagrid.ac.za), representing a consortium of 7 universities and national laboratories in South Africa. For those of you who will be attending the last EGEE User Forum, and who might be curious to know what's happening in this part of the world, I would encourage you to attend the regional infrastructure projects session in Uppsala.
For the moment, I'm attending the 9th DOSAR meeting, hosted by the University of Johannesburg, which is one of the sites on SAGrid. The meeting is being held in the Kwa Maritane Lodge amazingly scenic Pilansberg National Park, with regular pre-dawn game viewing drives before the morning sessions. This workshop is focussing on the main physics activities supported within DOSAR (ATLAS and CMS), and the related work at UJ, whose physics department will soon officially join the ATLAS experiment. However, there is also much discussion on the ways in which this distributed organisation can go "beyond physics".
This is of course something which has for many years been addressed by EGEE, and indeed in my presentation in Uppsala I will outline some of the work in South Africa, in the context of projects such as EPIKH that has gone into deploying a stable infrastructure capable of supporting a wide range of research in many Virtual Organisations.
The last EGEE UF I attended was in Catania, which is a regular port of call for South Africans thanks to the strong history of collaboration which SAGrid has with the INFN, and also very similar to my home town , Cape Town. Although I'm really looking forward to the discussion and work to be done in Uppsala, I must admit to being a little apprehensive of the weather, and am starting to wonder where I left my scarves.
So, for now, I'm enjoying the sunrises, the deployment and interoperability discussions and the bush bar, but gearing up for Uppsala in the meantime.