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IDGF showcasing crowd computing at EGI CF 2014

IDGF will be present with a tutorial/workshop and a booth at the EGI Community Forum 2014 in Helsinki, Finland, May 19-23, 2014.

On display at the booth are:

- CloudCase: a fully functional 8 RPI computer cluster-in-a-briefcase demonstrating: XtreemFS cloud file system, BOINC crowd computing, eStep e-Science middleware.
- Video list: Big Buck Bunny explaining Desktop Grids; Big Buck Bunny helps explaining XtreemFS; WeNMR video-interview with Alexandre Bonvin; BioNMR video interview with Goran Karlsson
- Demonstrations: On request we can demonstrate: WeNMR, BioVel, and Autodock applications running on crowd computing.

The 20th IDGF tutorial and workshop is titled "Supporting EGI users with crowd computing based on Desktop Grids" and hosts five presentations:

1. The HADDOCK WeNMR portal goes crowd computing by Alexandre M.J.J. Bonvin, WeNMR, Faculty of Science - Chemistry, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
2. Spatially explicit ecosystem modelling with the help of workflows and desktop grid technology by Peter Ittzes, BioVeL
3. Utilisation of IDGF computational resources: alternatives by Jozsef Kovacs, MTA SZTAKI, Hungary
4. Establishing and operating local desktop grids - use the power of your institutions idle computers by Tamas Kiss, University of Westminster, United Kingdom
5. Overview Crowd Computing by Ad Emmen, Stichting IDGF & AlmereGrid, The Netherlands

The tutorial/workshop will be concluded by a panel discussion.

More information is available at

IDGF-SP project facts IDGF-SP project facts

Project acronym:

Contract n°: RI-312297
Project type: CSA-SA
Start date: 01/11/2012
Duration: 24 months
Total budget: 
964,190 €
Funding from the EC: 
860.000 €
Total funded effort in person-month:
Web site:
Contact person:
Robert Lovas
email: rlovas[{at]}
tel.: +36  1 329 7864 
fax.: +36 1 329 7864
Project participants:
Distributed Computing Infrastructure, e-Science, citizen, Desktop Grid, Green IT

Acknowledgement Acknowledgement

IDGF-SP is a project managed by the IDGF-SP consortium. IDGF-SP is supported by the FP7 Capacities Programme under grant agreement nr RI-312297. © IDGF-SP Website and IDGF-SP: IDGF-SP Consortium - 2012.

The IDGF-SP project The IDGF-SP project

There are over a billion PCs in the world. Most of these PCs can be found in citizens' homes and, to a lesser extent, in companies and universities. Most of these computers remain idle most of the time. About 1 million of them are active in supporting science in a volunteer computing grid and use their idle time to run scientific applications. The potential growth of this computing capacity is enormous. Many Desktop Grids have therefore decided to found the International Desktop Grid Federation (IDGF) to help each other improving their e- Infrastructures.

The IDGF-Support Project is giving the IDGF a boost in two important areas. Firstly it helps considerably with increasing the number of citizens that donate computing time to e-Science. It will do so by targeted communication activities and setting-up a network of "ambassadors". Secondly it helps universities' e-infrastructures to include otherwise idle PCs from their class rooms and offices. In addition IDGF-SP collects and analyses data that will help deploying idle PCs in an effective and energy efficient way. It has been shown that Desktop Grids can contribute to Green IT if used in the correct way. IDGF-SP is collecting data to underpin and advocate best practices.

As a result of IDGF-SP, the number of citizen volunteers donating computing to e-Science will increase significantly. By employing unused PCs in private Desktop Grid, universities and other research organizations, will save on their costs on providing computer capacity for their scientists. IDGF-SP will help strengthening the co-operation amongst Desktop Grid e- Infrastructure operators. IDGF-SP will encourage and help IDGF Desktop Grid providers to integrate their infrastructures into the main e-Science environment. The existence of a lively active IDGF community assures the swift take-up of the IDGF-SP project results.

During its first project year, IDGF-SP project has maintained and updated the Desktop Grid infrastructure, its connections with other distributed computing infrastructures (Grids and Clouds), and expanded the documentation. The core IDGF-SP infrastructure now consists of Desktop Grids from the partners, SZTAKI Desktop Grid, AlmereGrid, Charity Engine, ABC@home; and University of Westminster local desktop Grid, one general purpose Grid that is called EDGeS@home, and one dedicated for low-energy computing studies from SONY CSL. In total this core eInfrastructure have hundreds of thousand computers attached. In addition, IDGF-SP also did give support to other members of IDGF with setting up and maintaining Desktop Grids, including in Russian Federation and South-East Asia.

Several Desktop Grids are connected by Bridges to the European Grid Infrastructure (EGI). This allows researchers from all over Europe to easily submit jobs to volunteer desktop grids, or use spare capacities of the EGI infrastructure by volunteer projects. IDGF-SP has considerably improved the Bridge and virtualisation solutions and the related processes. Now it became easier to submit jobs, moreover accounting, support mechanism, and security adhere to the strict EGI requirements.

A document with best practices has been written that helps distributed computing infrastructure operators to set-up and install bridged desktop grids or simple deploy it automatically on-demand in the cloud.

Through collaborations with EGI and scientific communities, a number of killer applications have been prepared that will be used to attract more citizens in 2014. These applications will be made available in a relaunched EDGeS@home desktop grid. We will also more and more use "Crowd computing" instead of Desktop Grids. Crowd computing is easier to understand for non-techies.

IDGF-SP has considerably extended the portfolio of available scientific applications that can run in a crowd computing environment. The focus was on helping some large scientific user communities; including the BioVeL, WeNMR, and DIRAC user communities. BioVeL is a virtual e-laboratory that supports research on biodiversity issues using large amounts of data from crossdisciplinary sources. BioVeL offers the possibility to use computerised "workflows" (series of data analysis steps) to process data, be that from one's own research and/or from existing sources.

WeNMR is a Virtual Research Community supported by EGI, the largest one within the life science area. WeNMR aims at bringing together complementary research teams in the structural biology and life science area into a virtual research community at a worldwide level and provide them with a platform integrating and streamlining the computational approaches.

The DIRAC (Distributed Infrastructure with Remote Agent Control) project is a complete Grid solution for a community of users needing access to distributed computing resources. DIRAC forms a layer between a particular community and various compute resources to allow optimized, transparent and reliable usage. It is used in high-energy physics communities.

Comparisons of Desktop Grids with cloud computing and traditional centres are often made. Good data that can be used to make a fair comparison was largely lacking until the IDGF-SP started. Detailed analysis of IDGF-SP has shown that in comparison to a traditional data centre, a Desktop Grid is cheaper, and in most cases also greener.

IDGF-SP has produced detailed documents with financial and Green-IT aspects and comparison with other infrastructures including the experiments and experiences from SONY, Charity Engine and SZTAKI.

The project has produced several general tools that can help in setting-up and maintaining Desktop Grids for volunteer citizens. These tools will help to considerably increase the number of crowd computing volunteers in a secure and efficient fashion.

A new "Desktop Grid for eScience Road Map" is available to help organisations setting up Desktop Grids. The Road Map has a management part, aimed at management level in organisations that helps them assessing the potential value, and associating costs of setting up or participating in a desktop grid. The technical part of the Road map helps technical managers to actually implement a desktop grid.

Several tools have been developed that help explaining distributed computing technology to citizens. This includes a Raspberry Pi powered parallel computing video wall as part of a Crowd Computing demonstration corner.

IDGF-SP has started collaborating with other citizen science projects, including SOCIENTIZE, helping citizen scientists. In the specific collaboration with SOCIENTIZE we plan to combine the power of crowd computing with direct citizen involvement. A crowd computing programme called KOPI is first analysing texts for potential copy right infringements automatically using citizens' computers for pre-processing Wikipedia. In case of doubt, citizen scientists look to the text to make a final judgement, i.e. human intelligence is to be used soon.

During the second project year IDGF-SP will continue its activities to support Desktop Grid organisations that are organised in the International Desktop Grid Federation. We expect this will result in active user communities and many more citizens involved in donating computing time to science through crowd computing.