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Grid computing

Atlas detector
The Large Hadron Collider currently under construction at CERN ,will generate multiple petabytes of data per year, which will be stored and analysed using the EGEE Grid infrastructure. The picture shows the construction site of the ATLAS detectors for the experiment. Foto Cern

The main advantage of Grid computing is that it offers a standard interface to computing and storage resources. Resources all over the world can be easily coupled together, and used by researchers everywhere. This facilitates collaboration with other people, because resources can be combined and data shared. The name Grid is derived from the power grid where you can just plug in your appliance in order to get electrical power. The Grid allows you to get computational and storage power in a similar way.

The Center for Information Technology contributes a 200 core Gridcluster with 48 TByte of storage to the grid.


In order for the Grid infrastructure to know who you are, you will need a digital certificate. A digital certificate is comparable to a passport, and is used for authentication. The digital certificate is based on cryptographic technology and is digitally signed by a certificate authority. By signing, the certificate authority guarantees others that you are indeed who you say that you are. In order to get a certificate you therefore have to show a real physical ID to the certificate authority, or one of its representatives. In the Netherlands a certificate can be obtained from the Dutchgrid CA.

Virtual Organisations

One of the key concepts in Grid is that of Virtual Organisations (VO). A virtual organisation crossesorganisational boundaries, and consists of people that work together on a project. The access to Grid resources is controlled at the level of the VOs. In order to use the Grid you will have to join a VO first. This can be an existing one, but a new one can be created for your particular project as well. The VO managers then decide on who can be a member of the VO. The resources of the grid that support a particular VO, will ask the VO for a list of its members and will give access to the resources on the basis of that list.
EGEE logo
EGEE logo


The computing center is involved in the European Grid project EGEE, which is currently in its second two-year phase, and preparing for the third. The EGEE project aims at operating a large scale (worldwide) Grid infrastructure. The key focus areas are therefore operations, involving monitoring, end-user and site support, and application support. The University of Groningen is involved in both operations and applications support.

The Center for Information Technology center is currently working in a number of application areas, helping scientists in working on the grid. Applications range from astronomy (e.g. Lofar), chemistry, life sciences up to linguistics.

Map with Lofar antennas
Map with Lofar antennas

Contact us

If you want to know more about Grid computing, are interested in making use of the Grid, or need help with Grid related problems, please contact us through the servicedesk tel 050-363  3232
Last modified:24 November 2015 10.18 a.m.
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