Vast efficiency improvements when using the grid

New software from the areas of gravitational physics and genome research reduces work efforts by 95%. Presentation from 22 to 24 March in Dresden.

March 19, 2010

Astrophysicists and genome researchers will be presenting software tools in Dresden that are set to ease access to the immense computing capacities of the grid. The automatic distribution and control of computer programmes in the grid enables their intensive use in the first place. This moves grid computing for all into the realm of the possible. The results will be presented for the very first time at the “All-Hands-Meeting”, the most important German conference devoted to grid computing. The All-Hands-Meeting will take place from 22-24 March at the TU Dresden: Hörsaalzentrum, Bergstrasse 64, 01062 Dresden.

Grid Application Toolkit (GAT)
The GAT software developed by the eScience Group at the AEI can communicate with all known grid middleware services e.g. Globus, UNICORE and gLite. Middleware services are programmes that enable the communication of resources among each other. With GAT, access to the computer resources is considerably eased, as now each middleware must not be addressed individually with software that is specially tailored to it, thanks to the fact that GAT is universally applicable.

Most of the D-Grid resources accessible via Globus middleware are used by the AEI. In order to make additional computing capacities also available via the other middleware services, AEI scientists want to use GAT in future. Moreover, the software package is intended to be made available via a web portal to the entire scientific community.

Einstein@Home
The data which is being gathered in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) with the linked gravitational wave detectors GEO600 und LIGO is analyzed together with the data from the Italian-French Virgo detector by Einstein@Home. With over 200,000 participants, Einstein@Home is one of the biggest shared computing projects in the world. It is being operated jointly by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA and the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam and Hannover.

Gravitational waves
Within the framework of his general theory of relativity in 1916, Albert Einstein had already predicted the existence of gravitational waves - however, he was thoroughly convinced that these tiny ripples in space-time would never be able to be measured. Yet he was mistaken about this: In the past few decades, an international community of scientists has developed highly sensitive gravitational wave detectors with which the tiny elongations that occur when a gravitational wave passes through can be measured. One of these revolutionary projects, the German-British gravitational wave detector GEO600, is located near Hannover and it operated by AEI scientists together with their colleagues in Cardiff and Glasgow. The measurements with GEO600 are Germany’s contribution to the international “Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory” (LIGO) whose data is evaluated through the Einstein@Home analyses. Einstein@Home in the D-Grid - the “Usecase GEO600” - is making the biggest contribution by far to this work.

The direct measurement of gravitational waves will provide us with new insights into the universe, as, for the first time, we will be able to “see” areas that are not accessible to other observational methods. Since astronomical methods are always a look into the past, we will be able, for the first time, to catch a glimpse of the first moments of the universe and better understand how it came into being. The observational methods to date reach back to around 380,000 years after the Big Bang; it is only from that time on that the universe has become transparent for electromagnetic radiation, e.g. X-ray, gamma or infrared radiation. Gravitational wave astronomy is thus a perfect addition to the currently existing astronomical observation options. This is why research in this area is receiving funding throughout the world.

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