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Grid computing is increasingly perceived as the main enabling technology for facilitating multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary collaborations. By sharing unique resources amongst organizations and by providing uniform and ubiquitous access to these facilities to both scientists and industrial end-users, a new generation of challenges can be addressed.

Quoting from one of the main papers on Grid by Ian Foster, Carl Kesselman, and Steven Tuecke:
The real and specific problem that underlies the Grid concept is coordinated resource sharing and problem solving in dynamic, multi-institutional virtual organizations. The sharing that we are concerned with is not primarily file exchange but rather direct access to computers, software, data, and other resources, as is required by a range of collaborative problem-solving and resource-brokering strategies emerging in industry, science, and engineering. This sharing is, necessarily, highly controlled, with resource providers and consumers defining clearly and carefully just what is shared, who is allowed to share, and the conditions under which sharing occurs. A set of individuals and/or institutions defined by such sharing rules form what we call a virtual organization (VO).


As clusters of commodity compute systems become more widespread and high-speed networks extend to an ever larger part of the community, Grid middleware and grid portal services are deployed at an increasing number of sites in the Netherlands.
DutchGrid is the platform for large-scale distributed computing in the Netherlands. Open to all institutions for research and test-bed activities, the goal of DutchGrid is to coordinate the various deployment efforts and to offer a forum for the exchange of experiences on Grid technologies.

DutchGrid Platform collaborators meet regularly, usually at get-togethers organized by of one of the existing Grid projects in the Netherlands: DataGrid, ASCI/DAS-2 and ICES/KIS Virtual Lab. Besides, the platform provides limited hands-on support for organizations seeking to use Grid for their application. This support is provided through collaborations with one of the participating projects.

The Certification and Security Infrastructure of DutchGrid is available for all scientific and research organizations in the Netherlands working on Grids. The Certification Authority is operated by NIKHEF as a courtesy service for the Dutch Grid community. It is part of a pan-European PKI Infrastructure coordinated by the EU DataGrid Project's CACG. This European dimension enables seamless resource sharing by all participants both within the Netherlands and in Europe. Authorization (the actual sharing of resources) is explicitly not covered by the DutchGrid PKI. Authorization, accounting and billing issues remains subject to the local site policy and bilateral usage agreements.

If you (or your organization) is actively considering to use and deploy Grid services, you are cordially invited to join the DutchGrid Platform. Please contact David Groep, preferably by electronic mail to davidg@nikhef.nl.

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