Centres join to forge e-Science tools for researchers

October 21, 2005

Three UK centres are joining forces to make Grid middleware, developed under the UK e-Science Programme, available and easy to use by e-researchers in all disciplines. The e-Science Core Programme is investing an extra £3.8 million over three years to establish the Open Middleware Infrastructure Institute-UK (OMII-UK) by pooling expertise gained on internationally recognised e-Science projects at the Universities of Edinburgh, Manchester and Southampton.

"It is important that we have the means to support software developed under the UK e-Science Programme so we can sustain those components that researchers rely on. OMII-UK will provide this support and sustain the UK's leadership in e-Science," says Dr Anne Trefethen, director of the e-Science Core Programme.

OMII-UK will be uniquely placed to offer an integrated set of well-engineered open source Grid middleware that incorporates a wide variety of tools and services. Today, these tools perform tasks such as job submission, data integration and semantically guided workflows using web services and grid infrastructure. OMII-UK will develop more advanced tools to empower new research in a wide range of disciplines.

The e-Science Core Programme is creating OMII-UK by funding Edinburgh and Manchester Universities to join with OMII at the University of Southampton.

Together, these three centres represent a community of some 6000 users. By combining the centres' expertise in OMII-UK, the e-Science Core Programme is establishing a powerful source of well-engineered software, enabling an integrated approach to the provision of higher level and more advanced tools than before.

OMII-UK will deliver well-integrated and well-supported solutions based on the combined experience, technical resources, engineering processes and user understanding at all three sites, coupled with the established OMII managed programme. Solutions will be better integrated than previously, easier to use and better tuned to the requirements of the research and development community. OMII-UK will provide a significant basis for international collaborations and standards.


Edinburgh, Professor Malcolm Atkinson, mpa@nesc.ac.uk, 44-0-131-651-4040
Dr. Mark Parsons, M.Parsons@epcc.ed.ac.uk, 44-0-131-650-5022
Mr. Neil Chue Hong, N.ChueHong@epcc.ed.ac.uk, 44-0-131-650- 5957
Manchester, Professor Carole Goble, carole.goble@manchester.ac.uk, 44-0-161-275-6195

Professor Norman Paton, norman.paton@manchester.ac.uk
Southampton, Professor Dave de Roure, dder@ecs.soton.ac.uk, 44-0-23-8059-2418
Professor Peter Henderson, ph@ecs.soton.ac.uk, 44-0-23-8059-3440
Dr. Steven Newhouse, s.newhouse@omii.ac.uk, 44-0-23-8059-4506

Notes for editors
1. e-Science is the science that can be carried out by pooling access to very large digital data collections, very large scale computing resources and high performance visualisation held at different sites.

2. A computing grid refers to geographically dispersed computing resources that are linked together by software known as middleware so that the resources can be shared. The vision is to provide computing resources to the consumer in a similar way to the electric power grid. The consumer can access electric or computing power without knowing which power station or computer it is coming from.

3. The UK e-Science Programme is a coordinated £230M initiative involving all the Research Councils and the Department of Trade and Industry. It has also leveraged industrial investment of £30M. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council manages the e-Science Core Programme, which is developing generic technologies, on behalf of all the Research Councils.

4. The UK e-Science Programme as a whole is fostering the development of IT and grid technologies to enable new ways of doing faster, better or different research, with the aim of establishing a sustainable, national e-infrastructure for research and innovation. Further information at http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/escience.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
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