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Computational Resources on the NGS
Data Resources on the NGS
Supercomputing Services on the NGS
Who can use the NGS?
The "TeraGyroid Experiment".
So what could the NGS do for Social Scientists?
How can I use the NGS?
Can I put my Department's Computer on the NGS?

Overview

The UK National Grid Service

Rob Allan and Rob Crouchley

The National Grid Service, NGS, was established in late 2003 and came into operation in early 2004. It followed work done by members of the Grid Engineering Task Force in which the Regional e-Science Centres evaluated middleware such as Globus and SRB to link their existing computational and data resources. Many issues of large-scale deployment were identified and addressed during this work enabling a successful service to be implemented quickly.

By Easter 2003 prototype software had been developed and tested for: Virtual Organisation management, usage accounting, portal access and functional integration testing.

The NGS differentiated itself from the ETF's previous "Level 2" Grid, upon which a number of applications had been tested, by including some new dedicated resources. These were funded by JISC's JCSR - the Joint Committee for the Support of Research. (JISC is the UK's Joint Information Systems Committee which provides resources and services for HE and FE institutions.) The four new systems purchased will be described in the next few pages. They complemented the supercomputing facilities of CSAR (at Manchester Computing) and HPCx (at Daresbury Laboratory) to form the core NGS. Other sites were asked to bid to provide additional services.

The NGS is only accessible using Grid technology - this is an incentive for researchers to learn to use the Grid. Its functionality will increase over time and as usage becomes more widespread. The NGS will be linked up to other international Grid resources - several experiments to demonstrate this have already taken place.

Further information is provided at URLs:

NGS: National Grid Service - http://www.ngs.ac.uk
GOSC: Grid Operations Support Centre - http://www.grid-support.ac.uk
ETF: Grid Engineering Task Force - http://www.grids.ac.uk/ETF