Claudio Vuerli (INAF), Giuliano Taffoni (INAF)
The European Union has invested heavily in e-science programmes over the past years both at the National and the European levels with impressive results. One of the most important results of the EU effort is the development of an European Grid e-Infrastructure. In fact, because Grid technology is now recognized as a fundamental component for e-Infrastructures, it has been identified as a strategic priority for Europe.
Through the EU co-funded Grid projects (EGEE and EGI), European scientists already have access to large-scale production-quality grid services, providing the data storage and computational power to greatly support and speed up their research activities.
After the great effort of the EC that financed three editions of the EGEE Project, the European Grid Initiative (EGI) currently aims at implementing a sustainable, pan-European Grid infrastructure based on National Grid Initiatives coordinated by an European entity named EGI.eu.
The building blocks of the future European Grid are the NGIs. They are autonomous, national grid bodies, able to mobilize their own national funding and computing resources and to support their own research communities. Together with the EGI Organization (EGI.eu), they will coordinate the shared use of grid resources within Europe.
An important role is played by the trans-national, disciplinary user communities; they organize themselves in EGI primarily as Virtual Research Communities (VRCs). VRCs act as long-lived hubs that allow those communities to safeguard their Grid expertise gained in the framework of several subsequent projects, to promote the sharing of resources within the community and among the community specific projects, and to provide specialized services to the community, like science gateways or community portals.
We will provide an overview of the roadmap and the main features of the EGI e-infrastructure. In particular, we will highlight the perspectives for Astronomy and Astrophysics (A&A) and for the new generation of large scale A&A research projects that could benefit of the European e-Infrastructures (e.g. the Cherenkov Telescope Array, the SKA project, LOFAR, etc.).
We will present the current status of the A&A VRC and future proposals/plans to enhance and strengthen the presence of A&A in EGI.
Paper ID: P161