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Introduction to South African National Grid - Tutorial

The tutorial will consists of two sessions:

  • Morning session: Introduction to and first-contact training for using the South African National Grid
  • Afternoon Session: Application development for SAGrid Infrastructure

Participants will be able to register for one or both of these sessions.


Morning Session: Introduction to and first-contact training for using the South African National Grid"

 Scientific research is increasingly relying on the availability and coordinate use of high-performance computing centres and large data sources. Access to and usage of these resources is commonly done in a shared way, due to their size, complexity and cost. One of the best models for the real-world deployment, management and usage of these resource is the so-called "grid paradigm". Production-quality grids have been deployed throughout the world, with the biggest project being "Enabling Grids for E-sciencE" (EGEE), funded by the European Commission and member states. EGEE provides a full suite of grid computing services to several Virtual Organisations in dozens of fields of science from physics to archaeology to bio-informatics and astronomy.


A fully EGEE-compatible infrastructure, exploiting institutional-level HPC centres at universities, national laboratories and other research institutes, has been deployed in South Africa - the South African National Grid (SAGrid). The gLite grid middleware provided by EGEE installed at the 7 sites on SAGrid allows for the secure, transparent sharing of these resources by researchers, independent of their location, opening up vast new potential for collaboration at several scales - from inter-institutional to international.


This half-day workshop and tutorial will give the brief overview of the activities around SAGrid and how it inter operates with other research and research support projects worldwide. A short hands-on session will be held to give a feeling for the usage of the services, as an introduction to the grid paradigm. Attendees are encouraged to bring their identity documents in order to have personal certificates issued in order to continue using the grid.


Afternoon Session: Application development for SAGrid Infrastructure


The South African National Grid provides a 100 % EGEE middleware-compatible infrastructure for which to develop distributed applications. The base functionality of the GLOBUS toolkit, which provides the backbone set of services on which most grid applications are developed, is augmented by a set of other services developed specifically by the NA4 or JRA1 teams of EGEE. These services provide enhanced functionality such as identity management, workload management, data services, information systems, monitoring, advanced workflow, etc. Each of these services provides an API in a well-known language (usually C, Python, Java) for developers to build distributed applications. These applications are usually the result of series of consultations and joint work done by the EGEE training arm, GILDA (Grid INFN Laboratory for Dissemination Activities) and the scientific

community in question. To date, several dozen fully-certified applications have been developed for deployment on EGEE infrastructure (a list can be found at the NA4 application registry :


In this short half-day workshop, we provide the attendees with a brief description of porting activities under way in South Africa, in collaboration with the EPIKH project (, as well as a high-level description of the porting methodology and an glimpse of relevant gLite API's. Attendees are strongly encouraged to propose new applications for porting, either from their own research field, or from related scientific fields.


For more details, please contact:

Dr. Bruce Becker,

Coordinator, South African National Grid

Meraka Institute, CSIR

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