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e-Science and the UK Computational Grid

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As part of its e-Science Programme, the UK is deploying a computational Grid for use by researchers and their collaborators. In a recent article, Ian Foster of the Argonne National Laboratory, USA examines the question What is the Grid?. Further information about e-Science activities in the UK can be found from the National e-Science Centre in Edinburgh or from the UK Grid Support Centre at CCLRC.

HPCx and the UK Grid

The role of the Grid Support Centre is to facilitate deployment of a Grid infrastructure in the UK. This involves resources at the Regional e-Science Centres, the Daresbury and Rutherford Appleton Laboratories and their partners, such as sites in the White Rose Grid. For more information see http://www.grid-support.ac.uk. HPCx is now Grid enabled!

The UK e-Science Grid currently uses the Globus GT2 middleware toolkit, pre-installed applications and local user and resource management and accounting systems. Grid users will require to be authenticated and to have a valid UK e-Science certificate. If you do not already have one, a certificate can be obtained via the on-line Certification Authority pages http://ca.grid-support.ac.uk..

Once you have a certificate you will need to install it on your home system as directed. You then need to request that the distinguished name (DN) string is installed in the grid-mapfile on HPCx. You make this request through the HPCx administrative web-site https://www.hpcx.ac.uk A DN, which is in the usercert.pem file, is of the form:

/C=UK/O=eScience/OU=Your University/L=Your Department/CN=your name

Jobs can be submitted from another Globus-enabled host just using a simple command of the form:

globus-job-submit login.hpcx.ac.uk:2119/jobmanager-loadleveler
    -np 4 -maxtime 2 -project e15 /bin/date
The above example being for a 4 processor parallel job.

Access to Grid facilities will however typically be via client software, such as GUIs, Web portals (see for instance the CCLRC IeSE project) and Globus-enabled applications. Staff at Daresbury can help you choose how to access the resources.

Reality Grid and HPCx

A high-profile project called TeraGyroid is running as part of the EPSRC-funded RealityGrid project, see the RealityGrid website. To enable this project to proceed we have compiled and installed a 64-bit instantiation of Globus GT2.4.3. Information about TeraGyroid test sessions are posted on the main HPCx Web site under MOTD.

This work was presented at the international SuperComputing 2003 conference, with live Access Grid presentations at the distributed SCGlobal event on 20th November at 10:30-12:00 local time (MST). See http://www.sc-conference.org/sc2003/global.html#sched under "Application Steering in a Collaborative Environment". Also see the EPSRC Press Release.

The main session is part of the HPC Challenge technical programme. See http://www.sc-conference.org/sc2003/tech_hpc.php. This is being presented at 18:30 GMT on 19th November. These sessions are also being streamed to the Web.

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