November 29, 2005 —
Carl Kesselman of the Viterbi School Information Sciences Institute and Ian Foster of the University of Chicago
and Argonne National Laboratory will lead a five-year effort to sustain
and enhance the Globus Toolkit, the open-source grid software they
created that underpins a rapidly increasing number of large
information-intensive science projects in the U.S. and abroad.
"What's exciting about this award is that it permits both ourselves and
our partners to make long-term plans," said Kesselman, who also holds
an appointment in the Viterbi School department of computer science.
that use Globus software have five or even 10-year planning horizons.
We can now engage with them in defining and developing the software
technology needed to support 21st Century science and engineering."
The $13.3 million award, entitled "Community Driven Improvement of
Globus Software",will support scientists and engineers at ISI and
Chicago. Staff at those two organizations, along with other Globus
developers around the world, will work with the scientific community to
define and prioritize Globus enhancements.
Globus is open source software for distributed computer systems, freely
available for use (and modification) by programmers. It is designed to
coordinate the use of geographically distant computers — their raw
computing power, the data they contain, and the instruments controlled
by them. The software addresses the security, data- management,
execution management, resource discovery and other issues that arise
from such sharing.
"A growing skyscraper of front-line research is now based on Globus,"
said Foster. "This grant will secure the foundations of that
skyscraper. Researchers and educators can now build on this software
with confidence, knowing that a dedicated team is available to address
problems and to enhance its capabilities as their needs evolve."
Foster and Kesselman began the Globus effort in 1996 with their
colleague Steve Tuecke (now CEO of Univa Corporation, which builds
industry applications based on Globus). Globus now enables numerous
highly visible projects including the U.S. TeraGrid national computing
infrastructure project and NEESGrid earthquake engineering system, the
international LHC particle physics grid, and also major efforts in
astronomy, genomics, and other fields.
Charlie Catlett, TeraGrid Director, notes: "It is Globus software that
allows TeraGrid's eight sites to function as a single distributed
facility--and thus enables frontier computations in fields as diverse
as medicine and environmental science. This award is great news for
U.S. science and engineering." The Laser Interferometry Gravitational
wave Observatory (LIGO), established to search for evidence of
gravitational waves predicted by Einstein's theory of relativity, uses
Globus software to distribute more than a terabyte (1 million
megabytes) of data per day to each of eight sites across the U.S. and
Dr. Albert Lazzarini of Caltech, LIGO Laboratory Data and Computing
Group Leader, notes that: "Globus provides a common foundation of grid
middleware on which the science and engineering community has been able
to build. Globus not only enables individual projects to advance, but
also promotes cross-disciplinary connections that are important to
discovery and progress at the frontiers of science and engineering."
The new award is funded by the NSF Middleware Initiative (NMI) program
of the NSF's Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI), which NSF established
to produce and apply the enabling software technology ("middleware")
needed by scientific applications. Deborah Crawford, Acting Director of
OCI, said: "Technologies like Globus are key to delivering the promise
of cyberinfrastructure, by providing a broad set of integrated
technologies to support complex, multi-scale and cooperative scientific
Development of Globus software was first supported by the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Department of Energy
(DOE), and later also NSF, IBM, and Microsoft. DOE and (in Europe) the
United Kingdom's Engineering and Sciences Research Council and Swedish
Research Council continue to provide important support for
Globus-related research and development.
In addition, the open source nature of the software allow a large
international community of developers and users, in both research and
industry, to contribute to its development.