E-Infrastructures for International Cooperation

E-Infrastructures for International Cooperation

Giuseppe Andronico (Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy), Antun Balaž (Institute of Physics of Belgrade, Serbia), Tiwonge Msulira Banda (Ubuntunet Alliance, Malawi), Roberto Barbera (Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy), Bruce Becker (Meraka Institute, South Africa), Subrata Chattopadhyay (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, India), Gang Chen (Institute of High Energy Physics, China), Leandro N. Ciuffo (Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy & RNP, Brazil), P. S. Dhekne (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, India), Philippe Gavillet (CETA-CIEMAT, Spain & CERN, Switzerland), Salma Jalife (CUDI, Mexico & CLARA, Uruguay), John Wajanga Aron Kondoro (Dar Es Salam Institute of Technology, Tanzania), Simon C. Lin (ASGC, Taiwan), Bernard Marie Marechal (CETA-CIEMAT, Spain & Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Alberto Masoni (Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy), Ludek Matyska (CESNET, Czech Republic), Redouane Merrouch (CNRST, Morocco), Yannis Mitsos (Greek Research and Technology Network, Greece), Kai Nan (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China), Suhaimi Napis (Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia), Salwa Nassar (ERI, Egypt & NARSS, Egypt), Marco Paganoni (University of Milano Bicocca, Italy), Ognjen Prnjat (Greek Research and Technology Network, Greece), Depei Qian (Beihang University, China), Sijin Qian (Peking University, China), Mario Reale (GARR, Italy), Federico Ruggieri (Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy), Cevat Sener (Middle Eastern Technical University, Turkey), Dipak Singh (ERNET, India), Yousef Torman (JUNET, Jordan), Alex Voss (University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom), David West (DANTE, United Kingdom) and Colin Wright (Meraka Institute, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 53
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-113-9.ch006
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E-infrastructures are becoming in Europe and in other regions of the world standard platforms to support e-Science and foster virtual research communities. This chapter provides the reader with a comprehensive view of the developments of e-Infrastructures in China, India, Asia-Pacific, Mediterranean, Middle-East, Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Europe and Latin America and with an outlook on the very important issue of their long term sustainability.
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Introduction: Some Of The World “Divides”

Almost 250 years after the publication of the illuministic and equalitarian theories of J. Rousseau, today’s world still suffers from a very uneven distribution of opportunities. Figures 1, 2 and 3 show, respectively, the world maps of growth competitiveness, education attainment, and digital inclusion (Maplecroft, 2008).

Figure 1.

Geographical distribution of growth competitiveness in the world

Figure 2.

Geographical distribution of education attainment in the world

Figure 3.

Geographical distribution of digital inclusion in the world

Looking at the maps above, two considerations can be highlighted:

First, there is a considerably strong correlation among the three quantities reported: thus several factors contribute in parallel to keep increasing the gap between more advanced and less advanced countries, inducing endemic problems like large-scale immigration, under-development, alienation, and poverty. Along the same reasoning, fighting against more than one problem simultaneously could then help to alleviate the others. As reported by the Education and Training Task Force (ETTF) of the e-Infrastructure Reflection Group (e-IRG ETTF, 2008), country studies carried out both by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank have confirmed an obvious correlation between investment in education and quality of life and GDP.

Second, there are several centres of excellence and “hot-spots” in many of the countries suffering from the above mentioned “divides” and there is a need for cooperation actions aiming at improving their scientific competitiveness.

In this chapter we will demonstrate how the adoption of e-Infrastructures can effectively foster scientific cooperation between several more-developed and less-developed regions of the world, thus reducing endemic problems such as the “digital divide” and the “brain drain”.


The European And The Global Research Areas

At the onset of the 21st century, the way scientific research is carried out in many parts of the world is rapidly evolving to what is nowadays referred to as e-Science, i.e. a scientific method which foresees the adoption of cutting-edge digital platforms known as e-Infrastructures throughout the process from the idea to the production of the scientific result. The e-Science vision is depicted in Figure 4.

Figure 4.

The vision of e-Science

Scientific instruments are becoming increasingly complex and produce huge amounts of data which are in the order of a large fraction of the whole quantity of information produced by all human beings by all means. These data are often relative to inter/multi-disciplinary analyses and have to be analyzed by ever-increasing communities of scientists and researchers, called Virtual Organisations (VOs), whose members are distributed all over the world and belong to different geographical, administrative, scientific, and cultural domains. The emerging computing model which is being developed since a decade or so is what is called “The Grid”, i.e. a large number of computing and storage devices, linked among them by high-bandwidth networks, on which a special software called middleware (intermediate between the hardware and the operating system and the codes of the applications) is installed, allowing the resources to behave as a single huge distributed computer which dissolves in the fabric of the Internet and can be accessed ubiquitously through virtual services and high-level user interfaces. The grid and the underlying network constitute the e-Infrastructure (Figure 5).

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