UK scientists plug into the grid

British scientists will soon have access to a national e-science computing grid for both information exchange and joint processing power. The e-science grid connects a national center in Edinburgh to e-science centers at universities around the United Kingdom. The latest center, at the University of Southampton, in England, was connected last October.

National e-Science Centre (NeSC) Research Manager Dave Berry says the first applications will be run in March. “There’s still work to do in making [the grid] robust,” he says. “But the infrastructure is there, and it’s just low-level engineering work that needs done, making sure that centers can communicate through one another’s firewalls and setting up the PKI [public key infrastructure] to recognize and authorize people.”

NeSC was established in April 2001 as a joint project between the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh. It receives funding from the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry’s e-Science program, the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, and the universities themselves. The Department of Trade and Industry’s Office of Science and Technology has allocated approximately