Thursday, September 20, 2012

A worldwide computing grid at a user’s fingertips.

One project that caught my attention was the CHAIN Science Gateway. It the first time that anyone with access to the web can easily submit a job, run scientific applications,  or use tools and data repositories with a choice of many grid e-infrastructures around the world. All they need to do is register with a user name and password; they can even use their Facebook credentials. “What matters for users in the end is that they want to run their applications in as many places as they can. With our tool, users can run anywhere they’re authorised to run,” said Roberto Barbera, technical coordinator of the project.

The CHAIN Science Gateway connects e-infrastructures in Europe, China, India, Brazil and America, and does away with the process of making a user manage grid security certificates. It uses robot grid certificates instead. These automated certificates are pre-installed at various sites on the network. When a user signs up, all they need to do is get authenticated and authorized. Authentication is managed by the SAML standard of the federated identity services. The Science Gateway's identity federation uses the Shibboleth implementation of the SAML standard.

A number of research communities are already running working with CHAIN including WeNMR, WRF4G, jModelTest, ProTest, LSGC, INDICATE, DECIDE, SuperB and Earth Science.

More information about the project can be found in a video interview below with Roberto Barbera.

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