Thursday, September 16, 2010

European Middleware Initiative

EMI is a close collaboration of the major middleware providers: ARC; gLite; UNICORE and dCache, to consolidate, evolve and support these middlewares. Internally, there are fixed product teams for each software product. Slides available for some of these talks on Indico.

First up is Alberto, project director. The roadmap consists of an internal major relase at the end of October, to show that the transition is working, and then a first public major release at the end of April next year; against a background of support and maintenance. These major releases should have all the middleware as coherent release. This was a bit handwavy, as overviews tend to be however.

Diana Cresti is next, talking about Collaboration strategy. Which, if I can crassly summarise, boils down to "we'll collaboarte with everyone!". One interesting thing was the "Works with EMI" program, which will be a combination of showing things work, and getting tech previews to help keep things working.

Andrej Filipcic talking about ARC from a user perspective, the Atlas VO. A few interesting numbers - they process about 1-2 PB a day. He decribed the Control Tower, which interfaces between Atlas's pilot job systems and ARC - to essentially make them not-pilots. As all the transfers are done in advance, then this leads to imporved job efficiency. By comparison with the PANDA pilot jobs for the gLite stack, ARC has a lower failure rate, but less amenable to pilots. He finished with a look at things that are missing, and some useful suggestions for future directions, which I can't restate better than his slides.

After that look at a stable community, we're now looking at the eNMR project, an emerging user community. Most of the work they do is to calculate protein structures from NMR data. The web portal is used to hide most of the low level commands - giving the users a more direct interface to the results they want. Interesting, the web portal is optional, but highly used, even by users that self describe as experienced computer users.

Overall, interesting session. There's still a little bit of 'not quite sure yet' lurking in some corners, but at least it's starting to get a clearer picture of what should be happening.

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