TCD Researchers Collaborate on International Project to Integrate ‘Cloud Computing’ with ‘Grid’ Technologies

Posted on: 22 June 2010

Trinity College researchers based at the School of Computer Science and Statistics in collaboration with five European partners have attracted funding worth €2.3million to develop a new Internet-based software project called StratusLab which aims to enhance distributed computing infrastructures that allow research and higher education institutes from around the world to pool computing resources.  The two year project, which was launched in Paris recently (14th June 2010) will see the TCD team, headed up by Senior Lecturer in Computer Science Dr Brian Coghlan, lead the effort to develop a repository of virtual appliances that will be used to simplify the set up of ‘grid’ systems thereby facilitating their growth and availability for researchers.

Funded through European Framework Programme 7 (EU-FP7), the two year project aims to successfully integrate ‘cloud computing’ technologies into ‘grid’ infrastructures.  Grids link computers and data that are scattered across the globe to work together for common goals, whilst cloud computing makes software platforms or virtual servers available as a service over the Internet, usually on a commercial basis, and provides a way for organisations to access computing capacity without investing directly in new infrastructure.   Behind cloud services are data centres that typically house large numbers of processors and vast data storage systems.  Linking grid and cloud technologies will result in major benefits for European academic research and is part of the European Commission strategy to develop European computing infrastructures. 

Speaking about TCD’s participation in the project, Research Fellow at the School of Computer Science and Statistics Dr David O’Callaghan said: “Computer grids are used by thousands of researchers in many scientific fields.  For example, the data from the Large Hadron Collider’s experiments, the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator situated at CERN in Switzerland, are distributed via an international grid infrastructure to be processed at institutes around Europe and the world, including at TCD.  The StratusLab toolkit will make the grid easier to manage and will allow grids to tap into commercial cloud services to meet peak demands.  Later it will allow organisations that already provide a grid service to offer a cloud service to academic users, whilst retaining the many benefits of the grid approach.”

The StratusLab project will bring several benefits to the distributed computing infrastructure ecosystem including simplified management, added flexibility, increased maintainability, quality, energy efficiency and resilience of computing sites.  It will benefit a wide variety of users from scientists, who can use the systems to run scientific analyses, to system administrators and hardware technicians, who are responsible for running grid services and maintaining the hardware and infrastructure at various resource centres.

The StratusLab project brings together six organisations, all key players with recognised leadership, proven expertise, experience and skills in grid and cloud computing.  This collaboration presents a balanced combination of academic, research and industrial institutes with complementary capabilities.  The participating organisations include the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France; the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain; the Greek Research and Technology Network S.A., Greece; SixSq Sárl, Switzerland; Telefonica Investigacion y Desarrollo, Spain, and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

About the StratusLab Project:

The StratusLab project consists of numerous collaborators from six European research institutions.  A website can be accessed via the following address:  The project is partially funded by the European Commission through the Grant Agreement RI-261552.