The Virginia Center for Grid Research is dedicated to performing research and solving issues surrounding the operation, deployment, and use of large distributed data and computing systems.
The overriding objective of the Virginia Center for Grid Research is to advance the science and application of grid computing so that it is more useful and readily available to those end users that can benefit from its power. Our goal is not to simply solve a few pieces of the overall grid computing puzzle (which is an important, part to be sure), but to also promote the use of grid computing systems to improve the capabilities of other areas of science and to perform research and share information and ideas. The scope of our charter covers a wide spectrum of activities including pure computer science/engineering research, grid system development and deployment, grid research community interaction, development of standards, and end user collaboration and outreach.
In particular, our goals are:
Identify and solve key research issues. Many problems remain for grid systems that impede their usefulness and acceptance by end users. These span the areas of security, privacy, dependability, performance and efficiency, and ease of use to name a few. As a research group, a primary goal of the group is to tackle such problems and advance the state-of-the-art solutions.
Demonstate, evangelize, and educate user communities on the usefulness of grid systems. Grid systems hold amazing promise for improving how research and other real world endeavors are done within a local community or across diverse groups. However, grid computing systems often present significant hurdles to their use by end users - systems can be difficult to create and maintain, can require significant investment of time and effort to learn how to use a system or configure it to perform a specific task, etc. So, it is important that we not only improve the ease of use of systems (a research issue), but also work with end users to help them get going. Their feedback will provide both useful imformation for further usability improvements, but will also provide the type of positive results that will help fuel acceptance of grid systems as a mature and useful tool for advancing other real world efforts. Towards this goal, we have created the Global Bio Grid (GBG) to facilitate several research efforts in the biological and medical fields at various institutions. We are also working with an increasing list of collaborators from various scientific fields helping them to employ leverage grid computing to improve the efficiency of their research.
Increase the reach of grid systems. This is really a two part problem. Some of the issues holding back the increased spread and usefulness of grid systems stem from technical issues that most be solved - such as those listed under grid research above. A second problem is that there is a lack of agreement and cohesion within the grid community itself. There are several ongoing academic and commercial efforts to create grid systems, but the community as a whole suffers from a lack of a common set of grid operations and terminology, a dearth of standards commonly adhered to and even a lack of agreement on what a grid is supposed to do. This climate keeps many organizations and users on the sideline because they are unwilling to invest the time and effort to learn and deploy a grid system under within such an uncertaint environment. In addition, different systems do not currently interoperate limiting the reach and therefore usefulness of an individual grid system. To tackle these non-technical issues we are actively engaged with the grid community through organizations like the Global Grid Forum (GGF), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and OASIS and in particular with developing standards for the grid community.