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eInfrastructures White Paper

Electronic infrastructures (eInfrastructures) are defined as the integration of existing and developing research networks, large-scale computing fabrics, and nascent grid middlware environment. For the development and support of such eInfrastructures, a series of workshops has been launched by the European Union under the aegis of the European Union Presidencies, http://www.einfrastructures.org/, in cooperation with the European Commission. The creation of a policy framework is essential to facilitate the easy and cost-effective shared use of electronic resources in Europe (focusing on Grid-computing, data storage, and networking resources) across technological, administrative and national domains.

The "eInfrastructures" paradigm will reach its broadest scope and cross-border relevance, with policy decision mechanisms that will satisfy the diverse end-user communitiesí requirements of performance, service transparency and security, while achieving scale economies in providing ever-growing resources at attractive cost. The eInfrastructure Reflection Group consists of appointed Member, Accession and Associated States Representatives plus EC officials and is responsible to support on the political, advisory and monitoring level the creation of the above policy framework.

The following is an excerpt taken from eInfrastructures White Paper, v 5.52

The entire document is available for download by clicking Here

The eInfrastructures Reflection Group (eIRG) intends to support on the political, advisory and monitoring level, the creation of a policy framework for the easy and cost-effective shared use of electronic resources in Europe (focusing on Grid-computing, data storage, and networking resources) across technological and national domains.

In this way , the eIRG will cross-fertilize the major European grid activities in order to get the highest return on EU investments and remain at the forefront of the corresponding activities world- wide. During the last eIRG meeting in Dublin, Ireland, on the 16th of April, http://www.heanet.ie/einfrastructures/eirgAgenda.html, the following were agreed:

  • The eIRG noted the timely operation of the EUGridPMA http://www.eugridpma.org in conjunction with the TACAR CA Repository http://www.terena.nl/tech/task-forces/tf-aace/ and it expressed its satisfaction for a European initiative that serves eScience Grid projects.
  • The eIRG endorsed the principle of the EUGridPMA and TACAR. The eIRG welcomed this development which positions Europe in the forefront of Grid and eScience interoperability. The eIRG strongly encourages the EUGridPMA/TACAR to continue their valuable work and recommends that they be supported by the relevant EU/national projects and agencies.
Subsequent actions should be foreseen in order to
  • Enable the use of federated solutions, decoupling local authentication procedures at a user's origin organization from local authorisation at the target resource. Origins and targets are connected bv the trust links built bv the federation .
  • Apply techniques for privacy preservation, oriented towards avoiding unnecessary data leakage when perfonning AA interactions, providing users with the ultimate control over what infonnation about them is exchang;ed for what transactions.
  • Start working out policies towards resource sharing and accounting: o Intra-grid policies o Inter-grid policies

1 Background -The New Environment of elnfrastructures

The explosive growth of technologies associated with computing and electronic communication is providing unprecedented opportunity for growth and change in society and has the potential to drive economies based on information and knowledge. Applications currently being developed in this dynamic environment require ubiquitous distributed electronic infrastructures, dubbed eInfrastructures, created from the integration of existing and developing research networks, large- scale computing fabrics, and nascent grid middleware environments. The exploitation of the many electronic resources (computing, storage and others) within the various user communities which are linked by broadband optical networks, is of key importance for the European Union and international scientific and economic communities. Initiatives such as the EU eInfrastructures initiative will help to make this vision a reality , by harmonizing policies governing the resource usage and in this way facilitating the collaboration of the user communities.

To date, the World Wide Web has provided transparent access to information for millions of Internet users. The new electronic infrastructures are intended to extend this to provide rapid, secure, and transparent access to distributed computing resources and services. This "World Wide Grid" of resources will form the basis of the Information and Knowledge Society, and will be built upon the software and hardware necessary to establish virtual collaborative environments, tools for education and research, planning and simulation tools for complex problem solving, economic modelling analysis tools, virtual environments for medical treatment, storage and analysis of high- resolution digital data, pictures, and video and for providing access to massive scientific databases for disciplines from bio-informatics and bio-chemistry to meteorology , physics, and astronomy.

Pioneering work in these areas has been done by the academic research and scientific communities. These electronic science (e-Science) applications are building the frameworks and creating the necessary impetus for the growth of the required architectures and standards. At the same time, these Grid technologies are being adopted by the wider community of the Information Society , with applications such as e-Govemment: civilian transactions with administrations and governments, e- Business: providing tools and services for business, and areas such as fmancial modelling, data storage and analysis for medical and pharmaceutical sciences, entertainment and advertising, and the simulation of complex technological systems.

Today , electronic research infrastructures are implemented through grids of computing and storage resources connected through electronic networks of local, national, and international scales. The field is now learning how to transform these research environments into production-quality infrastructures capable of supporting these communities.

These new technologies provide unprecedented opportunities for novel means of education, economics, collaboration, and scientific endeavour amongst others. However, they also bring new iss~es regarding policies that must be understood in this new environment in order to exploit their full potential. Such issues as models for acceptable resource sharing and accounting of the associated cost, entitlement of communities or individuals to access and use resources, responsibility , privacy ,to name but a few, cross traditional national, economic, and political boundaries. This paper is intended as a first look at such issues, providing an overview of the current state of the art, bringing together experiences and knowledge gained by the current generations of grid and networking projects.

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