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OUCS, Oxford and the Grid. Introduce Myself OUCS Break-out Groups Grid Activities Overview Oxford Regional Grid Centre. Paul Jeffreys. Introducing Myself. From where have I come?! 26 years in academic life First degree in physics from Manchester

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oucs oxford and the grid

OUCS, Oxford and the Grid

Introduce Myself


Break-out Groups

Grid Activities


Oxford Regional Grid Centre

Paul Jeffreys


introducing myself
Introducing Myself
  • From where have I come?!
    • 26 years in academic life
      • First degree in physics from Manchester
      • PhD from Bristol in Particle Physics (‘strange decays of hyperons’!)
      • Scientific Fellow at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland
      • Joined Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in 1982
      • Started teaching at Keble in 1990
    • Interests
      • Experimental Particle Physics
      • Building Detectors
      • Scientific Computing, managing services for UK
      • e-Science and the ‘Grid’
      • Commissioned CLRC e-Science Centre



  • Personal Observations:
    • Enjoyed my first 2 months
    • Significant change, very different from RAL
    • Some great traditions in OUCS
    • Considerable amount of good-will and commitment
  • I believe:-
    • There is a crucial and exciting role to play
    • Recent changes to Governance Structure, and to computing, mean that we have to re-focus and this will be challenging
    • Wealth of knowledge/expertise/skills/experience
  • Aims for the future:
    • Create an overall plan which is owned by all staff, and will ensure excellent relations with our Users, which has:-
      • a revised ‘Corporate Image’
      • priorities re-evaluated
  • First OUCS Departmental Meeting – 19 June!


organisational break out groups
Organisational ‘Break-Out’ Groups
  • To encourage fresh thinking, whilst ensuring that developments owned by all members of OUCS
  • Timetable:-
    • Start to form membership of OBGs now
    • Can begin when ready, but certainly by start of MT
    • Deliverables:-
      • Short report(s?) (2-3 sides A4, structured bullet points, stating key issues and priorities for action)
      • Presentation at departmental meeting at end of MT
        • Summary of conclusions, plans for future
      • Final reports (and presentation?) submitted to ICTC
  • Two of direct relevance to ITSS…


obg1 career development and internal structure
OBG1: Career Development and Internal Structure
  • To revitalise a structure within OUCS which:
    • Encourages professional growth
      • builds career path
      • fosters training/learning
      • updates job description
    • Aims:
      • To make sure skills of staff fully used, appreciated, developed within career structure, and to ‘enhance CV’
    • Best Approach?:
        • Annual Reviews?, RO and SRO? Open Appraisal? IiP?
        • Entire emphasis must be on benefiting the reportee
  • Should this be “extended” to include IT staff outside OUCS?
    • How?
    • Part of OBG1?


obg3 establishing users needs
OBG3: Establishing Users’ Needs
  • OUCS’s future must be closely ‘connected’ with Users
    • Could be titled ‘Market Research’…
  • How do we establish Users’ requirements?
    • Resort to questionnaire?!
      • To whom exactly?
      • ITSSG, University’ and Colleges’ IT Groups
      • Non IT-related members of University
    • Build on OxTalent survey?
    • How do other large scale service organisations poll users?
    • What are the priorities of other service organisations similar to OUCS?
  • Should this be extended to include people outside OUCS?
    • Tony Brett prepared to help!


front page ft 7th mar 2000
Front page FT, 7th Mar 2000

“‘The Grid’, as it is provisionally known, will work far more quickly and reliably than today’s internet. It should eventually enable computer users to receive exactly the information they want from anywhere in the world within seconds – and without having to go through a tortuous search process.”


grid overview
Grid Overview
  • Tremendous momentum established!
    • ‘Science will never be the same again’ DGRC, Sept 2000
    • Widely believed that the Grid may lead to a revolution as profound as the World Wide Web
    • For more details, http://www.escience.clrc.ac.uk
  • What are e-Science and the Grid?


e science and the grid
e-Science and the Grid
  • e-Science …
    • “means science increasingly done through distributed global collaborations enabled by the Internet, using very large data collections, terascale computing resources and high performance visualisation”
  • Grid ...
    • “the word ‘Grid’ is chosen by analogy with the electric power grid, which provides pervasive access to power and, like the computer and a small number of other advances, has had a dramatic impact on human capabilities and society. We believe that by providing pervasive, dependable, consistent and inexpensive access to advanced computational capabilities, databases, sensors and people, computational grids will have a similar transforming effect, allowing new classes of applications to emerge.”

Foster & Kesselman, 1999


the web vs the grid
The Web vs The Grid
  • The Web supports wide area data/information location and retrieval
  • The Grid supports complete process initiation and execution including any necessary data location and retrieval
    • offers the potential to carry out significantly large tasks
    • opens up new capabilities for knowledge generation
  • Currently Grid tools provide a relatively low level of operational control
    • higher level tools will be developed to automate low level processes
    • agent technology will eventually support real time dynamic process optimisation


nasa ipg motivation
NASA IPG: Motivation
  • NASA … ‘Information Power Grid’
  • Large-scale science and engineering is done through the interaction of people, heterogeneous computing resources, information systems, and instruments, all of which are geographically and organizationally dispersed.
  • The overall motivation for “Grids” is to facilitate the routine interactions of these resources in order to support large-scale science and engineering.
  • Motivation
    • Many facilities are moving toward making resources available on the Grid
    • The Information Power Grid is NASA’s push for a persistent, secure, robust implementation of the “Grid”


lhc computing challenge
LHC Computing Challenge
  • Data written to “tape” ~5 Petabytes/Year (1 PB = 1015 Bytes)
  • 0.1 to 1 Exabyte (1 EB = 1018 Bytes) (~2010) (~2020 ?) Total for the LHC Experiments
  • Higgs
  • New Particles
  • Quark-Gluon Plasma
  • CP Violation


the large hadron collider challenge
The Large Hadron Collider Challenge
  • Scalability cost  management
    • 200,000 1GHz PCs
    • 28 PB of tape storage (2,800,000 X10GB PC disk equivalents)
    • 10PB of disk (1,000,000 X10GB PC disk equivalents)
  • Wide-area distribution
    • WANs are only and will only be ~1% of LANs
    • Distribute, replicate, cache, synchronise the data
    • Multiple ownership, policies, ….
    • Integration of this amorphous collection of Regional Centres
    • .. with some attempt at optimisation
  • Adaptability
    • Only know how analysis is done properly once the data arrives!!
  • Relevance
    • Multiple ownership, security… generic issues


the globus project
The Globus Project
  • The most widely accepted ‘toolkit’
  • Basic research
    • resource management, storage, security,networking, QoS, policy, etc.
  • Running across the UK
  • Toolkit - bag of services, NOT an integrated solution
    • Information Service (MDS) - GRIS/GIIS
    • Remote file management - GASS
    • Process monitoring - HBM
    • Executable management - GEM
    • Resource management - GRAM
    • Security - GSI
  • Many users of Globus…increasing



SR2000 e-Science Allocation

DG Research Councils

Grid TAG


Steering Committee



Management Role


Awareness and Co-ordination Role

Generic Challenges

EPSRC (£15m), DTI (£15m)

Academic Application Support


Research Councils (£74m), DTI (£5m)

PPARC (£26m)

BBSRC (£8m)

MRC (£8m)

NERC (£7m)

ESRC (£3m)

EPSRC (£17m)

CLRC (£5m)

£80m Collaborative projects

Industrial Collaboration (£40m)


core programme resources
Core Programme Resources
  • Director of e-Science, Core Programme
    • Proposed:
      • 1 national + 8 regional ‘Grid Application Centres’
        • Access to development funds for Grid applications
        • Close links with industry, responsibility for dissemination
      • Grid Start Pack
      • Fellowships to EU-Datagrid and iVDGL
      • Networking Task Force
      • National Grid Support Centre
  • Financial break-down:-
    • Grid Application Centres £20M
    • Grid Middleware and Demos £6M
    • Grid IRC Research Projects £5M
    • e-Science Testbeds £2M
    • International Involvement £2M
    • UK Grid Support £5M

Total £40M


proposed regional grid centres
Proposed Regional Grid Centres
  • ~£470k to ‘pass go’
  • £1M pot for testbed --

to be matched by industry



US Sites













vision for oxford bid
‘Vision’ for Oxford Bid








Computational Biology

Biomolecular Simulations







Physiology /Functional







  • 6 June, Technical Advisory Group gave provisional endorsement for ORGC
  • 15 June, ORGC met with representative of Tony Hey (Anne Trefethen) to establish additional information required
  • ‘Organisation of Oxford Centre’, a distributed Centre, proposed
  • 18 June, ASUC approve proposed organisation
  • 19 June, received strong endorsement for ORGC from Sue Iversen
  • 20 June, received strong endorsement from University
  • Resources:-
    • £0.47M to ‘pass go’
    • Then.. £1M DTI pot for Oxford, to be matched by industry, and then further resources
    • Next SR – double resources for e-Science!


oxford regional grid centre
Oxford Regional Grid Centre
  • ‘Distributed regional grid centre’
    • OSC -- will offer up to 5% of their facilities
    • OUBC will take responsibility for linking with the life sciences
    • ComLab will house some of the Centre\'s staff and will specialise in Grid training and security
    • BLU will be the focus for industrial outreach and collaboration
    • The coordination centre, and point of contact, will be OUCS
      • organise Grid activities across the University
      • PWJ Director – at least at start
    • OUCS and Physics will commission and manage the ORGC\'s hardware running GLOBUS, probably a Beowulf cluster
      • OUCS Hierarchical File Store will be connected?


grid conclusions 1
Grid Conclusions (1)
  • Considerable existing e-Science activity within OU
  • Tony Hey has succeeded in ‘mobilising’ Universities
    • Promise of OST/DTI funds worked wonders
      • Established Centres
        • Oxford’s least well developed of any…
      • Forming an institutional focus for scientific computing
        • Coordinate organisation (eg bids to e-Science funds)
        • Coordinate activities and share resources
      • Creating a national academic Grid
      • Obliging Universities to invest themselves
    • Enabled e-Science activities within OU to be brought under one umbrella
  • Centres are designed to disseminate
    • To industry
    • Outside e-Science (OU very strongly placed)


grid conclusions 2
Grid Conclusions (2)
  • Impact on Oxford
    • My belief, is that this will affect the appreciation of, provision for, and support of, IT through the University
    • In turn this will have far-reaching consequences:-
      • Improved IT facilities for our researchers
      • New possibilities in teaching and distance learning
      • Opportunities to make our unique resources more widely accessible
    • Access to new resources
      • And increased collaboration with industry
  • … and therefore
    • IT will become an even more important tool
    • … and we are in for an exciting time!


seti searching for life
SETI - Searching for Life
  • Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico
  • Screensaver
  • Home page in33 languages
  • (Grid in spirit

rather than


  • http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/