The first User Forum of the Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE) project was held on 1-3 March at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. The event coincided with a significant milestone for the EGEE project, as the total processing power achieved by this Grid infrastructure now exceeds 20,000 CPUs on average.

The forum brought together more than 240 people - both from the established EGEE user community as well as new users from academia and industry - to share their experiences and set new targets for the future.

Discussions included the evolution of existing scientific applications that have been "gridified" to work on this infrastructure. Also discussed was the development and deployment of new Grid middleware and applications in fields such as life sciences, computational chemistry, earth observations, astroparticle and particle physics, and fusion.

The forum was the first in a series of planned events for users that will take place during the second two-year phase of the EGEE project (EGEE-II). Negotiations with the EU for EGEE-II are very advanced, after the project passed its second review by EU-appointed Grid experts in December 2005. The second phase of EGEE started on 1 April to ensure a seamless service to current EGEE users.

"This event marks the beginning of a new phase in the evolution of scientific Grids," said IBM Grid strategist Jean-Pierre Prost (IBM Products & Solutions Support Center, Montpellier, France). "The underlying infrastructure is now in place, and increasingly real users - both academic and industrial - will be driving the further development of the technology, with their expanding range of requirements for scientific computing and data processing using Grid technology."

The next major EGEE event will be the EGEE'06 conference on 25-29 September in Geneva, Switzerland. This will highlight the range of related projects that EGEE has helped to generate, and the broad spectrum of user communities that are involved.