Stichting EGI (abbreviated EGI.eu) is a not-for-profit foundation established under the Dutch law to coordinate EGI. EGI is an international collaboration that federates the digital capabilities, resources and expertise of national and international research communities in Europe and worldwide. The main goal is to empower researchers from all disciplines to collaborate and to carry out data- and compute-intensive science and innovation. EGI.eu has participants and associated participants drawn from representatives of national e-infrastructure consortiums (NGIs), EIROs, ERICs, and other legal entities. These entities provide the physical resources and shared services that enable EGI to deliver, improve and innovate services for communities. EGI is supporting ‘grids’ of high-performance computing (HPC) and high-throughput computing (HTC) resources and is also ideally placed to integrate new Distributed Computing Infrastructures (DCIs) such as clouds, supercomputing networks and desktop grids. EGI.eu coordinates areas such as overseeing infrastructure operations, user community support, contact with technology providers, strategy and policy development, flagship events and dissemination of news and achievements.
The EGI federation brings together more than 350 data centres worldwide and also includes the largest community cloud federation in Europe with 21 cloud providers across 12 European countries offering IaaS cloud and storage services. EGI offering includes a federated IaaS cloud to run compute- or data-intensive tasks and host online services in virtual machines or docker containers on IT resources accessible via a uniform interface; high-throughput data analysis to run compute-intensive tasks for producing and analysing large datasets and store/retrieve research data efficiently across multiple service providers; federated operations to manage service access and operations from heterogeneous distributed infrastructures and integrate resources from multiple independent providers with technologies, processes and expertise offered by EGI; consultancy for user-driven innovation to assess research computing needs and provide tailored solutions for advanced computing. Over the last decade, EGI has built a federation of long-term distributed compute and storage infrastructures that has delivered unprecedented data analysis capabilities to more than 45,000 researchers from many disciplines (e.g., Medical and Health Sciences, Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Agricultural Sciences, and Art and Humanities).
Examples of the supported research include the search for the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator at CERN; finding new tools to diagnose and monitor diseases such as Alzheimer’s, or the development of complex simulations to model climate change. The EGI Cloud Federation aggregates resources by defining a set of standard open-source interfaces and protocols to access the different cloud functions - such as resource discovery, user authentication, compute and data access services - in a uniform way at all the sites, enabling workloads to span and seamlessly migrate across resource centers. Through the EGI Virtual Machine image library – the Application Database – EGI offers the possibility to share and reuse virtual appliances and to dynamically deploy them in a federated cloud infrastructure. Besides cloud compute and storage services, the cloud will offer the capability of accessing open datasets of public and commercial relevance for scalable access to big research data, fostering a culture and environment for sharing and reuse of open research data. EGI supports the implementation and adoption of cloud open standards.
The EGI technical platforms are co-developed with research communities and technology providers. In order to do so, EGI has established processes and technical infrastructures for requirements gathering, software validation, verification and distribution through the Unified Middleware Distribution. Through its solutions for High Throughput Computing, Cloud, Federated Operations and Community-driven innovation and support, EGI is contributing to the Open Science Commons vision (http://go.egi.eu/osc) according to which Researchers from all disciplines have easy, integrated and open access to the advanced digital services, scientific instruments, data, knowledge and expertise they need to collaborate to achieve excellence in science, research and innovation. EGI is an open infrastructure with a Commons governance, is committed to support the Open Science and the Open Science Commons vision (http://opensciencecommons.org/). In addition to this, EGI has the ambition of contributing through open platforms to the sharing of application software, open source code, data, and processing resources, in Europe and beyond.
The selected AGINFRA+ Use Cases will illustrate the benefits of applying the Science as a Service approach to pressing research questions from the corresponding research communities.
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