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Fourth All Hands Meeting, 19 - 22nd September 2005 Nottingham


Dear Colleagues

This is only the fourth e-Science All Hands Meeting but already this seems like an established tradition. The e-Science Programme was begun at the initiative of Sir John Taylor, then Director General of the Research Councils with funding from the Government's Spending Review in 2000. Further funding was allocated to e-Science in the review of 2002 making a total investment of some £200M over the five-year period from 2001 to 2006. Many of the e-Science projects funded under the initial tranche of funding have now ended and we are now beginning to see the beginnings of real scientific benefits. Some examples are given below - but at this meeting I am sure you will see other examples where e-Science technology is poised to deliver significant benefits to the research community.

The particle physicists are now well on their way to constructing a genuinely global particle physics Grid to enable them to exploit the massive data streams expected from the Large Hadron Collider in CERN that will turn on in 2007. Astronomers are now offering several scientific services from their distributed, multi-wavelength 'virtual observatory' and have established the International Virtual Observatory Alliance as a forum for developing common standards. In addition, some exciting new scientific results on 'temporal explorations' of astronomical events have been achieved using Grid-enabled robotic telescopes. Using a 'SETI@Home style' of Grid computing, the ClimatePrediction.Net project have made headlines with their results on global warming predictions. The GODIVA project has delivered a Web Services based system that will allow real-time weather-forecast data to be incorporated into the British Maritime Technology’s SARIS Search and Rescue Information System. The RealityGrid project used both the National Grid Service and the US TeraGrid at last year's AHM to perform some significant physics simulations. The DiscoveryNet project has led to some exciting commercial spin-off activities with their InforSense workflow and information mining and DeltaDot sensor companies. The DAME and eDiaMoND projects have also been successful in gaining follow-on funding from the DTI Technology Fund. Altogether 10 e-Science Centres were successful in the Inter-Enterprise Computing strand of the second call to this fund.

In 2002, the JISC established its Committee for Support of Research and although the JISC's remit is for IT support for the entire university research community rather than just science and engineering, development of the tools and technologies for e-Science are clearly an important subset of its 'e-Research' activities. Funding from the Research Councils for R&D projects is properly focussed on the 'R' for research: JISC R&D projects emphasize the 'D' for development and are looking to establish best practice and to develop prototype research services and tools for the research community. The two funding streams are therefore complementary and the university research community needs to make use of both funding streams to achieve its research goals. The Core Programme is therefore pleased to welcome the JISC as a major co-sponsor of this event for a second year and those of you unfamiliar with JISC's activities are encouraged to visit their stand and to attend the relevant talks at this meeting.

A good example of the complementarity of RCUK and JISC funding is illustrated by research and development of UKLight, the new 'lambda' network facility established with over £6M of JISC money. This research network provides a unique environment for the research community to perform some novel networking experiments using real e-Science projects as exemplars. I was therefore delighted to learn that the Research Councils (EPSRC, PPARC, MRC and the Core Programme) are investing nearly £3M in the ESLEA, MASTS and 46PaQ research projects to explore the potential of this new facility. A second example is the Core Programme and JISC activity on e-Science security led by our joint Security Task Force. The Core Programme, through the Grid Operations Support Centre, operates the UK e-Science Digital Certificate Authority for the e-Science research projects. On the other hand, the JISC funds both the Athens service and a new £6M programme on Authentication and Authorization systems for controlled access not only to JISC resources but also for universities to control access to their campus resources. The approach chosen by JISC is based on Shibboleth - a framework pioneered by the US Internet2 organisation - which has now established considerable international momentum and is based on the Security Access Mark-up Language SAML, an OASIS open standard. There is no doubt that some reconciliation of 'Virtual Organisation' certificate-based security and federated, Shibboleth style, university security will be needed and dialogue between the two communities is essential.

The second phase of the Core Programme has concentrated on putting into place the key elements of a national e-Infrastructure. The Grid Operations Support Centre and the NGS, the Open Middleware Infrastructure Institute (OMII) and the Digital Curation have been established and you can see what progress they have made by visiting their displays at this meeting. Last year the Government published its 'Investment Framework for Science and Innovation 2004 - 2014'. This emphasized the importance of collaborative, multidisciplinary research as a key driver for innovation and called for research and development into tools to create an appropriate environment. It also recommended the implementation of a National e-Infrastructure, mirroring many of the concerns of the present e-Science Programme. OST have set up a working party on e-Infrastructure and this is expected to feed into the deliberations of the 2006 Spending Review settlement.

Finally, besides welcoming other international visitors, I would like to extend a special welcome to a delegation from China and I recommend that you have a look at the breadth and achievements of their e-Science and Grid activities. I have found the China National programme to be more similar to the UK programme than any other national programme. For this reason we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Science and Technology in China and are developing close connections with the China National Grid programme. They are setting up a Chinese counterpart to our OMII and we see close cooperation in the area of standards and middleware as mutually beneficial.

I hope you enjoy the meeting and have a productive time here in Nottingham.

Best wishes

Tony Hey

 

Latest AHM2005 News

21 September 05 AHM Press Releases Press releases issued by the UK e-Science Programme on the 21st September 2005.

16 September 05 AHM Presentations Please submit your presentations online.

14 September 05 Press Release Invitation for journalists (media briefing 3pm Wednesday 21 September)

23 August 05 Registration Deadline The deadline for registration for the All Hands Conference is Midnight on the 31st August.

15 August 05 Press Release Information Request This year, the e-Science Core Programme will be press releasing newsworthy e-Science developments that will be presented or demonstrated at All Hands. The plan is to send them out under embargo during the week before the meeting so that journalists can follow the stories from afar if they're not able to attend. If you or your organisation is planning to issue a press release to coincide with the meeting, please get in touch with me (Judy Redfearn). If appropriate, I'd like to include your press release in the press pack I'm preparing.

27 June 05Proceedings Deadline The deadline for submission of Camera Ready papers for All Hands is the 1st July.

10 June 05AHM 2005 Provisional Programme Please note this programme is subject to change.

07 June 05 Registration Now Open Delegate Registration is now available for the All Hands Meeting 2005.

01 February 05 AHM 2005 Call for Abstracts Deadline for proposals 1st April 2005.

08 November 04 AHM 2005 Call for Mini-Workshops Deadline for proposals 17th December 2004.

28 September 04 AHM 2005 Dates Confirmed The UK e-Science All Hands Meeting 2005 will take place on the 19 - 22 September 2005.

 

 
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