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The GENIUS Grid Portal and robot certificates: a new tool for e-Science.

Barbera R, Donvito G, Falzone A, La Rocca G, Milanesi L, Maggi GP, Vicario S - BMC Bioinformatics (2009)

Bottom Line: The valuable benefits introduced by robot certificates in e-Science can so be extended to users belonging to several scientific domains, providing an asset in raising Grid awareness to a wide number of potential users.The adoption of Grid portals extended with robot certificates, can really contribute to creating transparent access to computational resources of Grid Infrastructures, enhancing the spread of this new paradigm in researchers' working life to address new global scientific challenges.The evaluated solution can of course be extended to other portals, applications and scientific communities.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Catania, Via S, Sofia 64, I-95123 Catania, Italy. roberto.barbera@ct.infn.it

ABSTRACT

Background: Grid technology is the computing model which allows users to share a wide pletora of distributed computational resources regardless of their geographical location. Up to now, the high security policy requested in order to access distributed computing resources has been a rather big limiting factor when trying to broaden the usage of Grids into a wide community of users. Grid security is indeed based on the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) of X.509 certificates and the procedure to get and manage those certificates is unfortunately not straightforward. A first step to make Grids more appealing for new users has recently been achieved with the adoption of robot certificates.

Methods: Robot certificates have recently been introduced to perform automated tasks on Grids on behalf of users. They are extremely useful for instance to automate grid service monitoring, data processing production, distributed data collection systems. Basically these certificates can be used to identify a person responsible for an unattended service or process acting as client and/or server. Robot certificates can be installed on a smart card and used behind a portal by everyone interested in running the related applications in a Grid environment using a user-friendly graphic interface. In this work, the GENIUS Grid Portal, powered by EnginFrame, has been extended in order to support the new authentication based on the adoption of these robot certificates.

Results: The work carried out and reported in this manuscript is particularly relevant for all users who are not familiar with personal digital certificates and the technical aspects of the Grid Security Infrastructure (GSI). The valuable benefits introduced by robot certificates in e-Science can so be extended to users belonging to several scientific domains, providing an asset in raising Grid awareness to a wide number of potential users.

Conclusion: The adoption of Grid portals extended with robot certificates, can really contribute to creating transparent access to computational resources of Grid Infrastructures, enhancing the spread of this new paradigm in researchers' working life to address new global scientific challenges. The evaluated solution can of course be extended to other portals, applications and scientific communities.

Show MeSH
Grid vision for e-Science. Transparent, ubiquitous and collaborative access to the Grid.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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Figure 1: Grid vision for e-Science. Transparent, ubiquitous and collaborative access to the Grid.

Mentions: In the last few years the needs of many researchers have become more and more demanding. Recent progresses in several scientific domains and the new challenges scientists have to face, have made it essential to devise platforms able to ensure appropriate support to complex multi-discipline research activities. Modern scientists need to access distributed computational and storage resources and start collaborative work in order to address common problems. Grid technology, based on open standards protocols, is the technology which permits an efficient sharing and management of a wide range of heterogeneous computational resources such us: supercomputers, storage systems, data resources and instruments, regardless of their geographical location. "A computational grid is a hardware and software infrastructure that provides dependable, consistent, pervasive and inexpensive access to high-end computational capabilities" [1]. The massive potential of Grid technology is becoming indispensable for many scientific and industrial applications belonging to different domains such as: Astronomy, Computational Chemistry, Earth Science, Financial Simulation, High Energy Physics and Biomedicine. In the life science domain for example, today, technology has brought biological information to grow at an impressive rate. The huge computational resources provided by Grid technology are particularly necessary, for example, in searching the human genome or to carry out simulations of molecular dynamics for the study of new drugs. Researchers in the field of the Earth science need to manipulate a lot of data in order to create complex models to predict weather forecasts, river floods and earthquakes. The paradigm introduced by this new technology is conceptually not unlike electrical grids. In an electrical grid, wall outlets allow users to link to an infrastructure of resources that generate, distribute, and bill for electricity. When a user connects to the electrical grid, he doesn't need to know from where the power comes from. Grid computing uses middleware (a virtual layer which allows the user to run his application in a specific grid resource in a transparent way) to coordinate disparate IT resources across a network, allowing them to function as a virtual whole. In order to allow scientists to perform new challenging researchers expediting the production of scientific results, e-Infrastructure tools and services need to become features of researchers' everyday working life. In other words, they should just see the grid as a seamless extension of their own workstation for what concerns both job execution/monitoring and data access/management. What a generic non-expert user would like to do is just to access the grid services in a transparent way from everywhere using one of the different electronic devices such us: desktop, laptop, PDA, last generation of mobile phone, etc.), as he does with the World Wide Web (figure 1).


The GENIUS Grid Portal and robot certificates: a new tool for e-Science.

Barbera R, Donvito G, Falzone A, La Rocca G, Milanesi L, Maggi GP, Vicario S - BMC Bioinformatics (2009)

Grid vision for e-Science. Transparent, ubiquitous and collaborative access to the Grid.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2697645&req=5

Figure 1: Grid vision for e-Science. Transparent, ubiquitous and collaborative access to the Grid.
Mentions: In the last few years the needs of many researchers have become more and more demanding. Recent progresses in several scientific domains and the new challenges scientists have to face, have made it essential to devise platforms able to ensure appropriate support to complex multi-discipline research activities. Modern scientists need to access distributed computational and storage resources and start collaborative work in order to address common problems. Grid technology, based on open standards protocols, is the technology which permits an efficient sharing and management of a wide range of heterogeneous computational resources such us: supercomputers, storage systems, data resources and instruments, regardless of their geographical location. "A computational grid is a hardware and software infrastructure that provides dependable, consistent, pervasive and inexpensive access to high-end computational capabilities" [1]. The massive potential of Grid technology is becoming indispensable for many scientific and industrial applications belonging to different domains such as: Astronomy, Computational Chemistry, Earth Science, Financial Simulation, High Energy Physics and Biomedicine. In the life science domain for example, today, technology has brought biological information to grow at an impressive rate. The huge computational resources provided by Grid technology are particularly necessary, for example, in searching the human genome or to carry out simulations of molecular dynamics for the study of new drugs. Researchers in the field of the Earth science need to manipulate a lot of data in order to create complex models to predict weather forecasts, river floods and earthquakes. The paradigm introduced by this new technology is conceptually not unlike electrical grids. In an electrical grid, wall outlets allow users to link to an infrastructure of resources that generate, distribute, and bill for electricity. When a user connects to the electrical grid, he doesn't need to know from where the power comes from. Grid computing uses middleware (a virtual layer which allows the user to run his application in a specific grid resource in a transparent way) to coordinate disparate IT resources across a network, allowing them to function as a virtual whole. In order to allow scientists to perform new challenging researchers expediting the production of scientific results, e-Infrastructure tools and services need to become features of researchers' everyday working life. In other words, they should just see the grid as a seamless extension of their own workstation for what concerns both job execution/monitoring and data access/management. What a generic non-expert user would like to do is just to access the grid services in a transparent way from everywhere using one of the different electronic devices such us: desktop, laptop, PDA, last generation of mobile phone, etc.), as he does with the World Wide Web (figure 1).

Bottom Line: The valuable benefits introduced by robot certificates in e-Science can so be extended to users belonging to several scientific domains, providing an asset in raising Grid awareness to a wide number of potential users.The adoption of Grid portals extended with robot certificates, can really contribute to creating transparent access to computational resources of Grid Infrastructures, enhancing the spread of this new paradigm in researchers' working life to address new global scientific challenges.The evaluated solution can of course be extended to other portals, applications and scientific communities.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Catania, Via S, Sofia 64, I-95123 Catania, Italy. roberto.barbera@ct.infn.it

ABSTRACT

Background: Grid technology is the computing model which allows users to share a wide pletora of distributed computational resources regardless of their geographical location. Up to now, the high security policy requested in order to access distributed computing resources has been a rather big limiting factor when trying to broaden the usage of Grids into a wide community of users. Grid security is indeed based on the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) of X.509 certificates and the procedure to get and manage those certificates is unfortunately not straightforward. A first step to make Grids more appealing for new users has recently been achieved with the adoption of robot certificates.

Methods: Robot certificates have recently been introduced to perform automated tasks on Grids on behalf of users. They are extremely useful for instance to automate grid service monitoring, data processing production, distributed data collection systems. Basically these certificates can be used to identify a person responsible for an unattended service or process acting as client and/or server. Robot certificates can be installed on a smart card and used behind a portal by everyone interested in running the related applications in a Grid environment using a user-friendly graphic interface. In this work, the GENIUS Grid Portal, powered by EnginFrame, has been extended in order to support the new authentication based on the adoption of these robot certificates.

Results: The work carried out and reported in this manuscript is particularly relevant for all users who are not familiar with personal digital certificates and the technical aspects of the Grid Security Infrastructure (GSI). The valuable benefits introduced by robot certificates in e-Science can so be extended to users belonging to several scientific domains, providing an asset in raising Grid awareness to a wide number of potential users.

Conclusion: The adoption of Grid portals extended with robot certificates, can really contribute to creating transparent access to computational resources of Grid Infrastructures, enhancing the spread of this new paradigm in researchers' working life to address new global scientific challenges. The evaluated solution can of course be extended to other portals, applications and scientific communities.

Show MeSH