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An Edinburgh research team that created software used by scientists worldwide has received follow-on funding of £1.86million.

Press Release 18th Novemeber 05

Released by EPCC on belhalf of the OGSA-DAI Project 18th November 2005

The OGSA-DAI project, based in the University of Edinburgh, is driving forward the complex area of scientific data access and integration, which in the future could provide us with better ways of screening for cancer or predicting destructive weather events.

Since 2002, OGSA-DAI has been engaged in developing ‘Grid middleware’, the software that supports the pooling of very large digital data collections and large-scale computing resources held at different sites across the globe. This is known as e-science. OGSA-DAI middleware is now used worldwide to support a whole raft of e-science projects. The project’s development and research team are based at EPCC and NeSC, at the University of Edinburgh.

OGSA-DAI project leader Prof. Malcolm Atkinson said: 'This fantastic £1.86 million grant gives an additional 3 year’s funding for the excellent and very strong team at Edinburgh that has already produced data access and integration middleware used worldwide for major grid projects. The funding gives us the opportunity to sustain our support of the community of 1500 registered users and the major applications, such as, in the US, Cancer Grid and the LEAD project – which is focused on real-time data collection to predict tornado formation – and AstroGrid, a UK government-funded, open source project designed to create a working virtual observatory for British and international astronomers.’ 

The grant is part of a three-year, £3.8million investment by the UK e-Science Programme to establish the Open Middleware Infrastructure Institute-UK (OMII-UK). Three UK universities – Edinburgh, Manchester and Southampton – will pool their expertise, experience and resources gained from working on many other internationally-recognised and successful e-science projects.

Together these three centres represent a community of some 6000 users. By combining the centres’ expertise in OMII-UK the e-Science Core Programme is establishing a powerful source of well-engineered software, enabling an integrated approach to the provision of higher level and more advanced tools than before, better tuned to the requirements of the research and development community. OMII-UK will provide a significant basis for international collaborations and standards, developing more advanced tools to empower new research in a wide range of disciplines.

Tony Hey, former Director of the Core Programme and now Vice President Technical Computing, Microsoft Corporation, said: ‘I am delighted that the UK e-Science Programme’s early investment in the OGSA-DAI project has paid off so well and that we now see a major contribution of open source middleware used throughout the world. The future of grid computing will rest on our ability to access and integrate the worldwide cornucopia of information resources. The next challenge is to deliver easily used tools that make these powerful facilities accessible to every scientist.’

Dr Anne Trefethen, current Director, said: ‘It is important that we have the means to support software developed under the UK e-Science Programme so we can sustain those components that researchers rely on. OMII-UK will provide this support and sustain the UK’s leadership in e-Science.’









Professor Malcolm Atkinson mpa@nesc.ac.uk +44 (0)131 651 4040

Dr Mark Parsons M.Parsons@epcc.ed.ac.uk +44 (0)131 650 5030

Mr Neil Chue Hong N.ChueHong@epcc.ed.ac.uk +44 (0)131 650 5957

Notes for editors

  1. A computing Grid refers to geographically dispersed computing resources that are linked together by software known as middleware so that the resources can be shared. The vision is to provide computing resources to the consumer in a similar way to the electric power grid. The consumer can access electric or computing power without knowing which power station or computer it is coming from.
  2. OGSA-DAI’s principal objective is to produce open source database access and integration middleware which meets the needs of the UK e-Science community for developing Grid and Grid related applications. Since 2002, OGSA-DAI has been engaged in identifying requirements, designing solutions and delivering software. The University of Edinburgh works collaboratively on OGSA-DAI with the universities of Manchester and Newcastle and with industrial participation by IBM and Oracle. OGSA-DAI is a UK DTI and research councils funded e-Science Grid Core Project involving the following partners: The National e-Science Centre, e-Science North West, NERESC, IBM, EPCC and Oracle. The project was conceived by the UK Database Task Force and is working closely with the Global Grid Forum DAIS-WG , the OMII and the Globus Alliance .
  3. The UK e-Science Programme is a coordinated £230M initiative involving all the Research Councils and the Department of Trade and Industry. It has also leveraged industrial investment of £30M. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council manages the e-Science Core Programme, which is developing generic technologies, on behalf of all the Research Councils.
  4. The UK e-Science Programme as a whole is fostering the development of IT and grid technologies to enable new ways of doing faster, better or different research, with the aim of establishing a sustainable, national e-infrastructure for research and innovation. Further information at www.rcuk.ac.uk/escience.
  5. OMII press release issued by the UK e-Science Programme:
  6. The e-Science Core Programme is creating OMII-UK by funding Edinburgh and Manchester universities to join with OMII at the University of Southampton: 
    • The University of Edinburgh is contributing expertise gained through the OGSA-DAI project, which since 2002 has developed middleware that is now used worldwide to support data access and integration from diverse data sources.
    • The University of Manchester’s contribution builds on the myGrid project, which since 2001 has developed a set of easily used workflow-based tools that have been widely adopted to support biomedical research.
    • The OMII at the University of Southampton was set up in 2004 to provide well-engineered e-Science middleware sourced from the e-Science community. In partnership with IBM, it has developed a robust software engineering process and is now working towards its third software distribution, incorporating components from partners in its managed programme.



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