The KnowARC project, which will improve and extend the state-of-the-art technology in the Advanced Resource Connector (ARC) Grid middleware, commenced on 1 June. The 6th EU Framework Programme will fund the project, which involves 10 partners from seven European countries, for three years. Its full name, Grid-enabled Know-how Sharing Technology Based on ARC Services and Open Standards, reflects the goals and means. The aim is to deliver innovative general-purpose software solutions to utilize existing Grid technologies and international standards.

A decade of Grid development has produced a variety of solutions, yet the Grid remains a largely academic phenomenon. The KnowARC project sets out to develop software foundations for a Grid solution that will suit everybody, businesses and individuals alike. Its goal is to fuse methods for know-how sharing with the Grid technology that is offered through the ARC software by NorduGrid and the Hungarian ClusterGrid infrastructure (see CERN Courier September 2006 p22). Ultimately it will provide a Grid-enabled way to navigate through the flood of information and methodologies for individual and corporate users in Europe and beyond. The objectives of the project focus on moving the ARC software to a service-oriented architecture and achieving an industrial quality by meeting the requirements of standard conformance, interoperability, reliability, security and overall usability.

The most important architectural vision of the project is the creation of a middleware that is composed of elementary building blocks, i.e. computer and data-storage components or special services that can be accessed through Web or Web-communication encapsulated protocols. It is key that all of the software components should be easy to install and be available on a broad range of operating systems. Other important goals are to ensure that the different software components satisfy existing Grid standards and to identify standard improvement possibilities in both Web and Grid services. The KnowARC solutions should be interoperable with key European Grid infrastructure initiatives such as Enabling Grids for E-sciencE. The condition is that all of the developed core software will follow the Open Source licensing standards and will be available free of charge for all. Currently, more than 6000 CPUs in more than 60 installations worldwide are joined through using ARC.

Compiled by Hannelore Hämmerle and Nicole Crémel