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OGSA first impressions: a case study re-engineering a scientific applicationwith the open grid services architecture

Butchart, B; Chapman, C; Emmerich, W; (2003) OGSA first impressions: a case study re-engineering a scientific applicationwith the open grid services architecture. In: (Proceedings) UK E-Science All Hands Meeting, Nottingham. : Nottingham, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

We present a case study of our experience re-engineeringa scientific application using the Open Grid Services Architecture(OGSA), a new specification for developing Gridapplications using web service technologies such as WSDLand SOAP. During the last decade, UCL?s Chemistry departmenthas developed a computational approach for predictingthe crystal structures of small molecules. However,each search involves running large iterations of computationallyexpensive calculations and currently takes a fewmonths to perform. Making use of early implementationsof the OGSA specification we have wrapped the Fortranbinaries into OGSI-compliant service interfaces to exposethe existing scientific application as a set of loosely coupledweb services. We show how the OGSA implementationfacilitates the distribution of such applications across alarge network, radically improving performance of the systemthrough parallel CPU capacity, coordinated resourcemanagement and automation of the computational process.We discuss the difficulties that we encountered turning Fortranexecutables into OGSA services and delivering a robust,scalable system. One unusual aspect of our approachis the way we transfer input and output data for the Fortrancodes. Instead of employing a file transfer service wetransform the XML encoded data in the SOAP message tonative file format, where possible using XSLT stylesheets.We also discuss a computational workflow service that enablesusers to distribute and manage parts of the computationalprocess across different clusters and administrativedomains. We examine how our experience re-engineeringthe polymorph prediction application led to this approachand to what extent our efforts have succeeded.

Type:Proceedings paper
Title:OGSA first impressions: a case study re-engineering a scientific applicationwith the open grid services architecture
Event:UK E-Science All Hands Meeting, Nottingham
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Additional information:Imported via OAI, 7:29:01 19th Jul 2005
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Computer Science

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