Thursday, September 20, 2012

Science gateways on the spot at EGI Technical Forum

Today, the EGI technical Forum continued with sessions focusing on various technical aspects of the Science gateway, an emerging interface for communities to engage more actively with the European Grid Infrastructure (EGI). Over the last decade the EGI collaboration developed deployed, operated and monitored science gateways providing nearly 30 science gateways for various scientific groups in Europe and beyond.

An EGI science gateway is a set of tools, applications, and data collections that are integrated together via a web portal, providing access to resources and services from the EGI. These gateways can support a variety of capabilities enabling community members to perform custom research scenarios.
 “The complexity of accessing distributed resources is hidden from researchers - said Nuno Ferreira, one of the speakers - therefore several communities are building gateways for their members. They expressed the need to identify a common set of terms to improve the understanding and consistency of documents.”
The reason why more and more research communities are establishing science domain specific environments, so called Virtual Research Environments (VREs), for data sharing and analysis is due to the fact that the digital research landscape is continually broadening. Science gateways are the best option to integrate and provide a coherent view of the various software tools and services needed by researchers for a custom analysis workflow.
e-Infrastructures can be very beneficial platforms for many users, provided they are really easy to use and Science Gateways are the ‘perfect tools’ to achieve this. “Catania Science Gateways, with support for Identity Federations, Social Networks and mobile access, are changing the way Grid infrastructures are used, hugely widening their potential user base – said Roberto Barbera during his presentation – especially non-IT experts and the citizen scientist, yet keeping the required security.”
The adoption of standards is very important as it represents a concrete investment towards sustainability.  “It can implement worldwide interoperability between different middleware at the user application level.” – concluded Roberto.

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