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SMSCG - Projet B02 - AAA / SWITCH, e-Infrastructure for e-Science; Swiss Multi-Science Computing Grid



Pautasso C.



Our primary goal is to provide computational resources to solve scientific computational problems. This involves the installation, commissioning and operation of a computational grid across several institutions of the Swiss higher education sector with /active/ involvement of applications from different scientific domains. This grid shall have the following key properties:

  • Multi-disciplinary and user-driven: The grid shall be used by a selected set of early user communities from different scientific domains organized in virtual organizations. Several user groups are active members of the project, additional user groups may join later.
  • Support for users and applications: Special focus will be given to make this grid easy to use. The grid specialists will assist the user groups in porting and running their applications on the grid. The mechanisms for long-term user and application support will be defined and initial steps taken towards their establishment.
  • Foster cooperation between IT infrastructure providers and computational scientists from different academic institutions. Members from cantonal universities, universities of applied sciences as well as from the ETH domain participate in this project.
  • The supported grid middleware shall be 
    • Simple. The middleware is chosen such that it can be easily installed, maintained and operated. This will enable adding new resources at a later stage. Only well-established middleware solutions with which project members already have experience shall be used, with slight adaptations wherever necessary. No new middleware components shall be developed as part of this project.
    • Extensible: Although the initial focus is on a computational grid only, the middleware shall be chosen such that it does not exclude further extensions at a later stage, mainly in the area of data management. A dedicated work package investigates possible extensions and interoperability with a second chosen middleware.
    • Flexible: Avoid lock-in to one given grid middleware. The grid middleware stack ARC from the NorduGrid Project has been chosen as starting point. However, the project will investigate interoperation with a second middleware stack (or components thereof), which will be selected early in the project.
  • Integrated user management: User registration, authentication and authorization shall be leveraged against SWITCHaai, the Swiss national authentication and authorization infrastructure (AAI). This implies the use of SWITCH short-lived certificates (SLCS) as well as authorization decisions based on SWITCHaai attributes. This will be the first grid installation in Europe where user management, authentication and authorization across several institutions is based on a national AAI infrastructure.
  • Special focus on security: The project team will seek active cooperation with the CERT teams of the Swiss higher education sector.
  • Policy-based: By end of the project, the grid shall reach an operational stage, which is governed by policies between resource providers and user communities.
  • Sustainability: The project team plans to extend this project upon success by another two years, including additional applications. Beyond 2011, the aim is to operate this grid through funding obtained within the context of the Swiss National Grid Association (SwiNG). 

University of Zurich, University of Bern, USI, CSCS, HES-SO, University of Geneva, SIB, SWITCH, WSL

Additional information

Start date
End date
27 Months
Funding sources
External partners
Beneficiario principale UNIZH
swissuniversities / Digital Skills