Press Archive

Grid Accomplishments, Applications Development, New Members Celebrated at Fifth PRAGMA Workshop in Hsinchu, Taiwan

Published 11/12/2003

Researchers from across the Pacific Rim recently met to review progress in developing grid applications and the resources to run them for the fifth PRAGMAworkshop. More than 108 application and grid experts from 29 Pacific Rim organizations attended the meeting, held at the National Center for High-performance Computing (NCHC), inHsinchu, Taiwan from October 22-23.

PRAGMA, the Pacific Rim Application and Grid Middleware Assembly, has the dual mission of building sustained collaborations and advancing the use of grid technologies in applications among a community of investigators working with leading institutions around the Pacific Rim, which in turn allows for data, computing, and other resource sharing.

"PRAGMA has set an example that researchers look to worldwide. Through the workshops, PRAGMA participants have established an ongoing dialogue that has led both to the development of technology and to the strengthening of relationships," said Fang-Pang Lin, Grid Computing Division manager at NCHC. He also recounted the importance of PRAGMA's support in fighting the SARS epidemic earlier this year (http://www.npaci.edu/online/v7.11/sars.html).

NCHC hosted the workshop, which was chaired by Lin and co-chaired by Kai Nan, executive director of the Network Technology and Applications Research Laboratory at the Computer Network Information Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences. For two days, researchers followed a packed agenda that included tutorials, lectures, real-time demonstrations, and working
group activities.

Director of NCHC Joe Juang said, "Today, science is an international activity and requires collaborations to work. The grid, by its very nature, is a global effort. The PRAGMA workshop introduced international grid experts to Taiwan's research efforts and scientists, and we are looking forward to continuing our collaboration." The meeting opened with introductions and keynote speeches by a number of distinguished guests, including William Chang, program manager in the Office of International Science and Engineering at the National Science Foundation, and Ruey-Beei Wu of Taiwan's National Science Council and a former director of NCHC. The speeches were followed by a session on Taiwan-based projects showcasing the breadth of grid efforts in the region, including the SARS and Asthma Grids, a Long Term Ecological Research Grid, Networked Simulation for Earthquake Engineering, the Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid, Biogrid, and the National Digital Archive.

"The overall goals we had in establishing PRAGMA were to promote grid applications and to promote sustained collaborations. PRAGMA has been successful at both-in just 18 months we have accomplished many of our initial goals, including the construction of a grid testbed and multi-site collaborations on applications," said Jysoo Lee, deputy chair of the PRAGMA Steering Committee and head of the Supercomputing Research Department at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information.

In the course of the workshop, the PRAGMA Steering Committee voted to accept two new members into the PRAGMA consortium - the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Illinois, and the Center for Computational Physics at the University of Tsukuba, Japan - raising the total number of PRAGMA member institutions to 20. "We are very pleased to welcome these two institutions to the PRAGMA family," said Peter Arzberger, chair of the PRAGMA Steering Committee and director of Life Science Initiatives at the University of California, San Diego. "PRAGMA is a collective effort and each new member brings unique expertise, applications, and resources that allow us to set, and accomplish, our
ambitious goals."

Along with the plenary talks, attendees participated in working groups focused on topics in telescience, bioscience, resources, and data grids. The working groups met to review the progress on their respective projects, and to set both short- and long-term goals, which ranged from finalizing plans for demonstrations at the upcoming Supercomputing 2003 conference (Phoenix, Arizona November 17-21 2003) to enhancing an international testbed for applications. An essential part of each workshop is live demonstrations of technological accomplishments enabled by PRAGMA. Those included the SARS Grid, Climate Simulation using Ninf-G on the PRAGMA/ApGrid Testbed, a Trans-Pacific Grid Datafarm used to analyze astronomical data, Grid-based Statistical Analysis of Iron Abundance Gradients in the Galaxy, a Tiled Display Wall, MGrid: A Molecular Simulation Grid on N*Grid Testbed, and the Development of High Throughput Grid-enabled Computational Pipeline for Structural Genomics and Informatics.

"These demonstrations illustrate how science can be conducted on the grid, and at the same time indicate the challenges remaining to making the grid usable on a daily basis," said Philip Papadopoulos, co-PI of the NSF-funded PRAGMA award. The PRAGMA workshop has provided a forum for engaging more PRAGMA institutions into the project. The next workshop, PRAGMA 6, will be hosted by the Computer Network Information Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Beijing on May 16-18, 2004.

PRAGMA is supported by its 20 member institutions, the National Science Foundation (Grant No. INT-0314015), the San Diego Supercomputer Center, the University of California, San Diego, and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology.

For more information about PRAGMA, please see http://www.pragma-grid.net.

Additional information about the fifth PRAGMA workshop can be found at http://pragma5.nchc.org.tw.


Media Contact: Greg Lund, SDSC Communications, 858-534-5143
Comment: Teri Simas, PRAGMA Program Manager, 858-534-5034