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AstroGrid-D: Grid technology for astronomical science


Beck-Ratzka,  Alexander
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

Radke,  Thomas
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Enke, H., Steinmetz, M., Adorf, H.-M., Beck-Ratzka, A., Breitling, F., Brüsemeister, T., et al. (2011). AstroGrid-D: Grid technology for astronomical science. New Astronomy, 16(2), 79-93. doi:10.1016/j.newast.2010.07.005.

We present status and results of AstroGrid-D, a joint effort of astrophysicists and computer scientists to employ grid technology for scientific applications. AstroGrid-D provides access to a network of distributed machines with a set of commands as well as software interfaces. It allows simple use of computer and storage facilities and to schedule or monitor compute tasks and data management. It is based on the Globus Toolkit middleware (GT4). Chapter 1 describes the context which led to the demand for advanced software solutions in Astrophysics, and we state the goals of the project. We then present characteristic astrophysical applications that have been implemented on AstroGrid-D in chapter 2. We describe simulations of different complexity, compute-intensive calculations running on multiple sites (Section 2.1), and advanced applications for specific scientific purposes (Section 2.2), such as a connection to robotic telescopes (Section 2.2.3). We can show from these examples how grid execution improves e.g. the scientific workflow. Chapter 3 explains the software tools and services that we adapted or newly developed. Section 3.1 is focused on the administrative aspects of the infrastructure, to manage users and monitor activity. Section 3.2 characterises the central components of our architecture: The AstroGrid-D information service to collect and store metadata, a file management system, the data management system, and a job manager for automatic submission of compute tasks. We summarise the successfully established infrastructure in chapter 4, concluding with our future plans to establish AstroGrid-D as a platform of modern e-Astronomy.