NCSA 30 | NEESgrid comes online
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NEESgrid comes online

NEESgrid comes online

There are numerous communities out there clamoring for concentrated support as they build cyberinfrastructure for their practitioners, but someone has to lead the way. In 2001, the National Science Foundation settled on earthquake engineers when development of the NEESgrid, a national virtual engineering laboratory, got underway. NCSA, among 10 collaborating institutions, built the NEESgrid.

In October 2004, the NEESgrid was handed off to a community-based consortium that supports its continued operation.

“This is exactly the sort of process we want to see in collaborating with communities and that we want to continue to encourage,” said Thom Dunning, NCSA’s director. “We help them build what they need and by doing so, they get a system that works for them and is suited to them.”

The NEESgrid consists of a very broad collection of software and services. Some—such as the NEES Teleoperations Control Protocol from the Information Science Institute at the University of Southern California—were developed specifically for the project. Others—like NCSA’s MyProxy and the Globus Toolkit from Argonne National Laboratory—were leveraged from grid tools and technologies developed as part of NSF’s Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure program, of which the National Computational Science Alliance was part.

Through NEESgrid, researchers conduct experiments using shake tables, centrifuges, and tsunami wave tanks from their desktop workstations. They also use computer simulation software and high-performance computing clusters and share research data stored in online repositories.