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Further Information


Organised under the patronage of the European Commission, this two-day event is designed to progress collaboration between countries of the Mediterranean region and European Union (EU) in the field of e-infrastructures and networking for research and education.

What are e-infrastructures?

Why e-infrastructures are important

e-Infrastructures for research in the Mediterranean: EUMEDCONNECT; EUMEDGRID



What are e-infrastructures?

e-Infrastructure is a term that is mainly used in the research and development context. It designates the new generation of integrated ICT-based infrastructure.

e-Infrastructures exploit several separate components and layers, such as networks, supercomputers and other computing resources, storage, remote resources and instrumentation i.e sensors. Such elements are seamlessly inter-connected and can be accessed by users all around the world, regardless of their geographical location.

e-Infrastructures are widely considered a key enabler for scientific and social development; their widespread use is rapidly changing the landscape of science and represents an effective answer to problems such as the digital divide and brain drain.

The networking infrastructure delivers the physical connections for the e-infrastructure. It is the basic layer supporting communication and collaboration among researchers all across Europe and neighbouring countries, as well as specific uses and applications.

In the domain of research and education, networking infrastructures are primarily deployed and managed by the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) of different countries, and are interconnected with international backbones such as the GÉANT2 pan-European network and the EUMEDCONNECT network, which is dedicated to the Mediterranean region.

Of the technologies available over the networking infrastructure one of the most promising is Grid technology. Grids are a set of services that allow geographically dispersed users to share computer power, data storage capacity and remote instrumentation. In the future, the global network of computers will become a resource that anyone may access on demand: users will exploit the power of an enormous supercomputer simply by connecting from their PC.

A number of scientific applications that demand high levels of computing power and data processing are already exploiting grid technology, which enables different computing centres, wherever located, to collaborate on the same computation as though all their CPUs were in the same room.

e-Infrastructures are widely considered a key enabler for scientific and social development. However their availability, quality and accessibility may vary depending on several factors, such as the national and regional telecom infrastructures and their openness to research institutions, telecommunications markets, and regulations at national and international level.

Further information on the Development Support Activity of GÉANT2

Why e-infrastructures are important

The use of e-infrastructures is rapidly changing the landscape of science. Remote access to computing services, instrumentation and resources in general, creates new opportunities for researchers to bring existing applications to higher levels of usability and performance. Additionally, it enables researchers to deploy new strategies in approaching scientific problems with simulation tools and intensive applications.

Another benefit of e-infrastrucures is that they stimulate the creation of new scientific communities; uniting researchers who are working on similar challenges and are willing to share resources and reach new levels of collaboration. Researchers can gain access to scientific data and unique instruments located in top level laboratories around the world without the need to travel.

Research and Education Networks and Grids contribute to the development of technologies by providing state of the art performance and services to the on-campus providers of telecommunications and hardware.

The rapid development of e-infrastructures will be accompanied by the appearance of new and pervasive services in other fields such as business, banking and government. However, across different countries there is still unevenness in availability, quality and accessibility of services, with gaps existing even within countries.

In order to ensure equal opportunities for researchers, narrowing the gap is of the utmost importance. Several initiatives in the European Union and neighbouring countries aim at this objective, as the Development Support activity of the GÉANT2 project.

It is intended to present a picture of the status and perspectives of research infrastructures in the Mediterranean region, enlightening the relationship between e-infrastructures and major stakeholders in the ICT environment, and to bring together providers, users and managers to discuss strategies for the future.

e-Infrastructures for research in the Mediterranean

EUMEDCONNECT

EUMEDCONNECT was deployed in 2004 as the first regional IP-based network dedicated for use by the research and education community of the Mediterranean region.

The EUMEDCONNECT network connects the national research and education networks (NRENs) of Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Malta, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey at speeds of up to 622Mbps and is linked to the pan-European GANT2 network. More than 1.4 million users in over 400 scientific and academic institutions are able to collaborate across the network.

The network provides dedicated high-bandwidth, low latency connections for transferring large amounts of data between collaborating partners, but equally can be used to provide fast access to conventional Web-based resources from all over the Mediterranean and beyond.

The pioneering success of EUMEDCONNECT has spawned similar regional networking initiatives in Latin America (ALICE) and Asia Pacific (TEIN2).

Further information : www.eumedconnect.net

EUMEDGRID

The objective of the EUMEDGRID project is to enable Grid operations between the Mediterranean region and the rest of Europe, by contributing to the creation of an eScience community and by providing support for an interoperable e-Infrastructure. EUMEDGRID officially started on 1st January 2006 with the single aim of assisting Mediterranean researchers to enter an extended European Research Area (ERA).

Integration into the wider European infrastructure will provide the research and education community of the region with access to a much larger pool of storage and computing resources than is currently available in the non-Grid environment, and will help to bridge the digital divide between the less-resourced countries and the EU.

Today, the EUMEDGRID pilot infrastructure extends to 13 sites in 11 countries, including Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Malta, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey. The applications deployed cover several fields which are of regional interest, including archaeology, hydrology, physics, biology, engineering, robotics and cognitive sciences.

EUMEDGRID acted as a trigger for national Grid initiatives for the creation of e-infrastructures in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, while some neighbouring countries are at a planning stage.

Further Information : www.eumedgrid.eu

EU-MED Event Hosts

The EU-MED Event will be hosted by three sponsoring projects that foster the creation of e-infrastructures in the Mediterranean region: EUMEDCONNECT, EUMEDGRID, and the Development Support Activity of GÉANT2. The EUMEDGRID portion of the funds is mainly provided by GRNET.

Please check this site for updates.