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The GridNet2 funds have been provided by the EPSRC e-Science Core Programme and the JISC JCSR to support UK e-Scientists who are making substantial contributions to the development of relevant standards. This follows on from the GridNet1 fund. The funding now covers additional items, such as support for hosting a face-to-face standards meeting, but also requires additional commitments from its participants, such as reporting and engaging in coordination activity. The fund is set up to support sustained engagement in standardisation. Therefore applications are encouraged from those prepared to make such commitments or already engaged in standardisation. Applications should normally cover a period of work, e.g. a year, and may include several people at one institution. This reduces bureaucracy and the workload on our reviewers.

The full proposal that was submitted to obtain these funds can be found here. There are two summary views of the status of various on-going and related standards:

  • prepared by Dr David Snelling of Futjitsu and Mark Linesch of HP and chair of GGF. David Snelling is chair of the OASIS Technical Committees standardising WS-ResourceFramework, active in OGSA-WG, is chair of the GGF Standards Council and leads the architectural design work in NextGRID where this slide was initially produced. It shows how a number of current standards can be composed to deliver grids and was an initial position for the OGSA-base profile WG.
  • the second slide from OGSA Status and Future, Hiro Kishimoto and Ian Foster, GGF12, slide originally from Michael Behrens, DISA consultant, shows the state of adoption of some of the prevalent web service standards or developing standards - prepared in the summer of 2004, it is inevitably dated - but it does show the complexity of the evolving standards landscape.

The above examples, are a snapshot, they fail to capture the complex dynamics and pressures exerted on standards. Standards are of great concern to the e-Science community because their adoption, whether formal or de facto, is a necessary precursor to economicly sustainable e-Infrastructure. Commercial pressures are inevitably a factor. To achieve useful effects, particularly open and available software that suits the requirements of UK researchers, the community funded by GridNet2 has to work together and deploy its efforts wisely.

The GridNet2 proposal presents three reasons for working on standards:

    Partially as a result of GridNet1 the UK has established a significant influence on the development of standards and in the sharing of best practices. This engagement is invaluable as the future of e-Research, the generalisation of e-Science, demands a cost-effective, sustainable, persistent and reliable e-Infrastructure. For this we require standards and shared best practices for three reasons:
    1. the task of creating, operating and maintaining e-Infrastructure is so large that it is essential to collaborate internationally - this requires standards so that independently produced and autonomously managed parts can inter-work;
    2. the community of users engage in a myriad of collaborations, many of them international - so that they require internationally inter-operating e-Infrastructure;
    3. the mobility of users and the requirement that investments in applications and high-level tools be re-usable at many sites internationally - requires standard environments for users’ work and applications’ services.

Those considering engaging in the work of developing standards should read this section of the proposal and these notes on the cost of achieving and impact and return on your investment. They recognise the importance of the work and issue a caution about the amount of time required and the considerable delay and uncertainty in achieving a pay back for the invested effort. They also reiterate the requirement to operate as a community, working together, sharing information, providing mutual support and developing a public set of reports for the benefit of the rest of the UK.

When writing reports please try to help communication by using standard vocabulary and abbreviations, for example that developed by the GGF OGSA WG and that developed by the GridNet2 members.

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