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NMI Integration Testbed to Provide 'Real World Evaluation for Emerging Middleware Development

From NPACI online
September 18, 2002

Eight universities are participating in a closely coordinated effort to deploy and evaluate emerging technologies that will link otherwise unconnected applications or services across the Internet. The National Science Foundation Middleware Initiative (NMI) is developing these technologies as well as the practical deployment and evaluation program called the NMI Integration Testbed as part of the NMI's overall effort to develop and disseminate software that allows scientists and educators to share applications, scientific instruments, and data across the Internet.

The Integration Testbed includes the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the University of Florida, Florida State University, Georgia State University, the University of Michigan, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC, University of Texas at Austin), and the University of Virginia. TACC and Virginia, both NPACI partners, are building on their NPACI experience in the Integration Testbed.

Managed by Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA), the testbed sites will use and evaluate software, services and architectures that facilitate researchers' and educators' access to distributed electronic resources for faculty and campus projects. Their efforts will gauge middleware's practicality, emphasizing factors such as performance, ease of use, robustness, and technical support.

"We're leading the effort to build a campus-wide computational Grid and participating in a state-wide effort to build a Texas Grid" said Mary Thomas, manager of the Grid Technologies Group at the Texas Advanced Computing Center. "Using the NMI components, we can build these campus and state Grids with uniform software environments, which will facilitate a more rapid deployment of a shared computational infrastructure. The result will enable our research community to collaborate using common compute, data, and network resources; make it easier for scientists to port code and run jobs and connect the system; and facilitate providing new resources by increasing utilization of local clusters."

"NMI provides a set of solid middleware components and best practices representing the distillation of significant collaborative work in the higher education and research sectors" said Art Vandenberg, Director of Advanced Campus Services at Georgia State University (GSU). "At GSU, we're building a new infrastructure to support our vision of the eUniversity. The NMI components are the foundation for this new endeavor and will be used to support our online teaching, research, and administrative services."

Universities in the NMI Integration Testbed were selected competitively based on each institution's readiness for immediate testing of NMI releases and the potential for future project and enterprise integration activities. The testbed is actively evaluating NMI Release 1 and preparing to evaluate Release 2, which will be available this fall. Ongoing information about the activities of the NMI Integration Testbed is available at http://www.nsf-middleware.org/testbed.

About the NSF Middleware Initiative (NMI)

NSF launched NMI in September 2001 by committing $12 million over three years to create and deploy advanced network services that simplify access to diverse Internet information and services. NMI consists of two teams The Grids Research Integration Deployment and Support (GRIDS) Center and the Enterprise and Desktop Integration Technologies (EDIT) Consortium. The GRIDS Center is a partnership of the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute (ISI), the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Chicago, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California-San Diego, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The EDIT Consortium is led by Internet2, EDUCAUSE, and the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA).

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