Sunday, February 11, 2007

Wow! It's been a busy time here in Melbourne, but just time to blog before getting back on the plane to Scotland.

The first week I was at the ACSW conference in Ballarat. It turned out that AUSGRID was only a 1 day event as part of that, so in fact the primary reason (excuse?) for coming turned out to be the least interesting thing. There were a few good papers as part of that, though. The keynote was by Denis Caromel, from Nice, describing how they have grid "enabled" java, in a package called ProActive. Essentially it replaces all of those awful MPI calls with nice, easy to manipulate java objects. Looks like a splendid way of doing parallel code on the grid. Probably not of huge interest in LCG, where we're mostly embarassingly parallel, but for communities coming from a supercomputing background, or just starting out with grids, it might be a very valuable toolkit to use.

The paper I gave went down well and there was general appeciation of the scale of EGEE and the volume of work we are doing. There was some discussion on SRM vs. SRB, a theme that contunied into my second week.

I met with Lyndsay Hood, the acting program manager of the Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing (APAC), for lunch. We had an interesting chat about their storage issues, where the thing that seems to put them off the EGEE solution is the X509 authentication. Too difficult for normal users, they seem to think. This is something I've heard from people in the UK as well, but no one seems to have a better answer: portals are too limiting, username/password doesn't scale. Shiboleth gets talked about all the time, but it seems to be spoken of as a panecea, rather than a working product that people can use right now.

A general comment on computer science conferences: I've had enough graph theory to last me a lifetime.

No comments: