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Agile Management: Strategies for Developing a Virtual Research Environment

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  • Computer Science
  • Design

Abstract 1 of 9 Towards tractable toolkits for the Grid: a plea for lightweight, usable middleware. Jonathan Chin <[email protected]> Peter V. Coveney <[email protected]> Centre for Computational Science Department of Chemistry University College London Christopher Ingold Laboratories 20 Gordon Street London WC1H 0AJ United Kingdom Abstract In the light of our ongoing attempts[1] to solve real scientific problems using heterogeneous high-performance computing equipment linked over a Grid, we discuss several significant barriers to widespread acceptance of Grid technology through the end-user community of application scientists, and propose some solutions. Executive Summary We have attempted to make use of Grid technologies for serious scientific work, as part of the EPSRC-funded RealityGrid[2] e-Science pilot project. We have encountered serious middleware-related problems which are hindering scientific progress with the Grid: The existing toolkits have an excessively heavy set of software and administrative requirements, even for relatively simple demands from applications. Existing toolkits are painful and difficult to install and maintain, due to excessive reliance on custom-patched libraries, poor package management, and a severe lack of documentation for end-users. Existing standards bodies and the task forces within the UK e-Science programme are not engaging sufficiently with the applications community, and run a substantial risk of producing and implementing Grid architectures which are irrelevant to the requirements of application scientists. We argue that it is important to develop a simple, lightweight Grid middleware which is "good enough" for rapid adoption, rather than taking longer to develop a solution which will, supposedly, suit all needs. Such a toolkit must be: substantially more portable, lightweight, and modular in design produced in very close collaboration w

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