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Daphne Siefert-Herron
Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University

Last modified: Tuesday, November 24, 2009

IU web tool for grids supports Large Hadron Collider

November 24, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A web tool developed by Indiana University is helping to monitor and assure the health of the two largest computational grids that support the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's most powerful particle accelerator. The LHC, operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), is making headlines this week as it resumes operation after an electrical malfunction caused it to cease operation in September 2008.

The new IU tool, called MyOSG, is a web portal that consolidates and presents information to create custom user views from multiple grid data sources. The tool was originally developed to allow technologists to monitor the function of the Open Science Grid (OSG), a national distributed computing grid for data-intensive research funded by the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy. As the Grid Operations Center (GOC) for the OSG, IU developed MyOSG to help monitor the many distributed high performance computing systems that make up the OSG.

MyOSG technology proved to be successful and easy to use, and was recently adopted by Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE), a European grid infrastructure that supports the LHC. Together, OSG and EGEE provide the majority of grid computational power that drives the LHC.

Rob Quick

Rob Quick demonstrates the MyOSG tool

"The idea for MyOSG came from listening to the OSG community during face-to-face meetings. Many OSG Resource Providers were telling us there were too many different websites to visit to keep track of their resource status," said Rob Quick, OSG operations coordinator within IU Research Technologies and Pervasive Technology Institute. "We needed a service to consolidate OSG information."

Quick said MyOSG replaced a cluttered view of OSG with a system that allows for very specific, targeted views for each role or individual. Using MyOSG selection criteria, each user can tailor a unique view of content gathered from multiple OSG sources. The portal also allows for export into the generic widget format, Universal Widget API (UWA), to personalized workflow environments such as iGoogle, NetVibes, and other widget viewers, including mobile devices.

"UWA allows us to provide MyOSG content to a wide range of users without having to support them individually," said Soichi Hayashi, primary developer of MyOSG. "The GOC infrastructure team is working now to provide a simplified version of MyOSG content that can be displayed on personal portals and various handheld devices via their web browsers. This approach will be even faster than UWA alone and will make the technology even more convenient for users."

"We've worked a long time with the OSG Operations Team on monitoring their resources and making sure all the results are interoperable for our major customers, including the group supporting the Hadron collider," said James Casey, a technologist with EGEE and CERN. "MyOSG is a natural fit into the EGEE environment and has required very little tailoring. Getting visualization tools working right and looking good is always the hardest part of any monitoring project. When we saw the high-quality work already done on MyOSG, we knew it was the best way for us to go."

Questions about MyOSG software may be sent to the Grid Operations Center at Indiana University: