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Welcome to the European Grid of Solar Observations (EGSO)
Bradford University Research Group

Project Objectives ______________________

Our knowledge of the complex behaviour of the atmosphere of the Sun and the associated outflow of the solar wind are in the process of being revolutionized by the wealth of data that have been obtained in recent years. As the closest star that can be resolved in fine detail, and one that has direct influence on various aspects of life on Earth, the Sun is continuously observed by advanced space satellites, and dozens of ground-based observatories. Combining multiple datasets from a broad collection of sources will be essential, in understanding and solving the difficult questions that remain unanswered in solar physics. There remain, however, numerous hurdles in efficiently exploiting the broad mix of heterogeneous datasets that are dispersed throughout Europe and around the globe.

The difficulties encountered in this specific field are similar to problems encountered in many other scientific disciplines and communities. In recent years the idea has been advanced of employing data Grids to bring together multiple datasets and to efficiently share distributed resources. There are areas where the data Grid concept still needs to befurther developed and proven operable. The EGSO project willaddress some of these new extensions to the Grid concept, including the federation of numerous heterogeneous datasets, the definition of metadata standards acceptable to a variety of different user communities and data providers, and the ability for individual users to design data query and analysis programs to be securely executed on the Grid resources. This project will develop a virtual data centre for the field of solar astrophysics. One advantage of developing these technologies with a focus on a particular field of research is that the social issues, which are as essential to any federation effort as the technological developments, can be more clearly addressed. The deeper understanding of these issues will be an aid to future Grid projects.

The overall goal of the EGSO project is to develop, using novel Grid technologies, a resource for the solar community that will provide a unified point of access for multiple datasets through a single, intuitive interface. We plan to show the extensibility of the Grid technologies to new applications for they were not originally conceived and the ability of these new tools to provide a greater value to the actual datasets. The EGSO should be able prove to the user community to be a powerful and essential tool for solar research, whose widespread use will motivate other data centres to join federation using the EGSO-produced software. The lessons learned from the creation of the EGSO will be useful to other communities undertaking similar projects.


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Page last updated: 21 October, 2004

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