Europe-China Grid InterNetworking (EC-GIN)

The Internet communication infrastructure (the TCP/IP protocol stack) is designed for broad use; as such, it does not take the specific characteristics of Grid applications into account. This one-size-fits-all approach works for a number of application domains, however, it is far from being optimal - general network mechanisms, while useful for the Grid, cannot be as efficient as customised solutions. While Grids are slowly emerging, the underlying network infrastructure is still in its infancy. Thus, based on a number of properties that make Grids unique from the network perspective, the EC-GIN (Europe-China Grid InterNetworking) project will develop tailored network technology in dedicated support of Grid applications. These technical solutions will be supplemented with a secure and incentive-based Grid services network traffic management system, which will balance the conflicting performance demand and the economic use of resources in the network and within the Grid.

General Information

Reference: Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP), FP6-2005-IST-6-045256
Source of funding: European Commission
Project Duration: November 1, 2006 - October 31, 2009
Official Project Home Page:
ec-gin/

Project Overview

Resulting from a collaboration between European and Chinese partners, EC-GIN parallels previous efforts for real-time multimedia transmission across the Internet that have special network requirements and show a special behaviour from the network perspective. However, while research into network support for multimedia applications has flourished, leading to a large number of standard protocols and mechanisms, the research community has neglected network support for Grid computing up to now. By filling this gap and appropriately exploiting/disseminating the project results, EC-GIN will, as a consequence, cause a "snowball effect" in the European and Chinese networking and Grid computing research communities.

Technically, EC-GIN will make Grids work, operate, and communicate better. By appropriately utilising the underlying network, Grid resources in general will be used more efficiently, which either means greater productivity (because less time is wasted in waiting for results from Grid applications) or less financial investment (because today’s efficiency can be attained with cheaper resources) and, therefore, amplifies the impact of Grid computing on the society and economy of Europe and China.

EC-GIN will make use of special Grid characteristics, mainly addressing the highly important ones listed above for enhancing the communication capabilities of Grid applications.

Since both the Grid and the Internet are under the control of humans, purely technical solutions that do not take human needs (demands of users and their applications) into account, have inevitable limitations. Therefore, EC-GIN mechanisms will be supplemented with a secure incentive-based Grid service and network traffic management system, which will balance the inherently conflicting interests of high performance (user need) and economic resource usage (service provider).

To summarize, the four major objectives of EC-GIN are the following:

  1. Development of Grid-specific network management mechanisms that enable Grid applications to use their resources more efficiently or in other words, "make the Grid faster".
  2. Promote global adoption of Grid environments and tools particularly in a pan-European and pan-Chinese environment to achieve a realistic and long-distance demonstrator case.
  3. Exploring Internet-based distribution of high-performance computing in China is highly important due to a practical and potentially large Chinese market. EC-GIN will benefit networking, sensor, large-scale database, data warehouse, information sharing, and expert knowledge sharing and will introduce necessary innovation and novel technologies into the Chinese and European Grid systems.
  4. Cause a "snowball effect" in the European and Chinese research community, convincing other networking/Grid computing researchers to jump on the bandwagon. This is a typical effect that happens when a crafty team of researchers focuses on a new research topic and accordingly disseminates its results.

EC-GIN will work towards achieving the four major objectives above; along the way, a number of tangible outcomes will be produced. The four most significant ones are:

  • Mathematical models for generating Grid-like traffic in network simulators, and Grid traffic generation code for the "ns-2" network simulator.
  • Prototype implementations of network management enhancements for the Grid along with performance evaluation reports.
  • A well-focused implementation of key mechanisms developed in the project; this will take the form of an extension to an open source operating system such as Linux.
  • Improved research collaborations between China and Europe in Grid computing.

Project Partners

  • Universität Innsbruck (AT)
  • University of Zürich (CH)
  • Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique (FR)
  • University of Lancaster (UK)
  • Justinmind (ES)
  • Exis IT Ltd - Electronic Systems and Information Technology & Telecommunications Solutions (EL)
  • University of Surrey (UK)
  • Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (CN)
  • Institute of Software, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CN)
  • China Telecommunication Technology Labs (CN)
  • Beijing P&T Consulting and Design Institute Co. Ltd. (CN)

UZH Personnel

Contact

Inquiries may be directed to the local Swiss project management:

Prof. Dr. Burkhard Stiller
University of Zürich, IFI
Binzmühlestrasse 14
CH-8050 Zürich
Switzerland
Phone: +41 44 635 67 10
Fax: +41 44 635 68 09