National Grid Service

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National E-Infrastructure Service
PredecessorNational Grid Service
Formation2004 (2004)

The National E-Infrastructure Service (NES), formerly the National Grid Service, was an organisation for UK academics and researchers from 2004 through 2011. It was funded by two governmental bodies, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).[1]


The NES provided compute and data resources accessed through a standard common set of services.[2] NES services are based on the Globus Toolkit for job submission and the Storage Resource Broker for data management. NES resources hosted scientific software packages, including SIESTA and Gaussian. As well as providing access to compute and data resources, the NES offered training (through the National e-Science Centre in Edinburgh)[3] and Grid support to all UK academics and researchers in grid computing.

NES had more than 500 users[4] and twenty nine sites.[5] The NES and GridPP were the two organisations that made up the [clarification needed] UK NGI the organisation which was the UK's point of contact with the European Grid Infrastructure.[6]

Prior to the NES, the UK e-Science programme funded a Grid Support Centre and later the Grid Operations Support Centre (GOSC). These provided support for end users to use and develop grid computing.

Following the UK Engineering Task Force developing the so-called 'Level 2 Grid', which was an ad hoc collection of individual institutes committing a variety of compute resources for grid computing, the NES was funded to develop this into a full service. Initially called the ETFp Grid, or Engineering Task Force Production Grid, it became known as the National Grid Service. Hardware was purchased and installed by February 2004, and a web site appeared by April 2004.[1] During phase 1, from October 2004 to September 2006, it worked with the separately funded Grid Operations Support Centre (GOSC).[7] By the start of phase two in October 2006, the NGS and the GOSC merged under the single project name NES. The NES had a third phase which ran through September 2011.


The NES provided free-to-use services to UK academic researchers:

Partner Sites[edit]

The NES had the following partner sites:

Affiliate Sites[edit]

Affiliate sites provided resources to the NES but with more conditions. Sometimes they provide access to their own users through the common NGS interfaces. Members of the GridPP collaboration also offered resources.


All academics in the UK could apply for a free account on the NES. The science and research ranged from the permeation of drugs through a membrane to the welfare of ethnic minority groups in the United Kingdom.[10] Other applications included modelling the coastal oceans, modelling of HIV mutations, research into cameras for imaging patients during cancer treatments and simulating galaxy formation.[11]

As an example use of NES, "The motivation, methodology and implementation of an e-Social Science pilot demonstrator project entitled: Grid Enabled Micro-econometric Data Analysis (GEMEDA). This used the NES to investigate a policy relevant social science issue: the welfare of ethnic minority groups in the United Kingdom. The underlying problem is that of a statistical analysis that uses quantitative data from more than one source. The application of grid technology to this problem allows one to integrate elements of the required empirical modelling process: data extraction, data transfer, statistical computation and results presentation, in a manner that is transparent to a casual user".[12]

Examples of research using the NES were published in 2006 through 2011.[13][14]


  1. ^ a b "National Grid Service". Original web site. Archived from the original on 2 April 2004. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  2. ^ NES Minimum Software Stack, Wallom D, Oliver P, Richards A, Young S, Version 3.2, [1]
  3. ^ "National e-Science Centre". Archived from the original on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
  4. ^ NES User Account System Metrics
  5. ^ NES Resources
  6. ^ "About Us". UKngi. Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Welcome to the National Grid Service website". Old GOSC web site. Archived from the original on 11 September 2006. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  8. ^ "JSDL Application Repository / Job Submission Portal". Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  9. ^ "NGS Portal". Archived from the original on 25 April 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  10. ^ The UK National e-Infrastructure Service, Weeks K ERCIM news July 2007 Service-Oriented Computing 2007.
  11. ^ STFC e-Science Annual Report 2006-2007 Weeks K [e-Science Centre Annual Review 2006-2007]
  12. ^ Grid enabled data fusion for calculating poverty measures S Peters, P Ekin, A LeBlanc, K Clark and S Pickles [Proceedings of the UK e-Science All Hands Meeting September 2006]
  13. ^ ICT in Higher Education, issue 8, The Times Higher Education Supplement, 20 October 2006
  14. ^ "Case Studies". Archived from the original on 28 August 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2013.