INAF

INAF is the Italian National Institute dealing with Astrophysical Research in Italy: its activity covers all branches of astrophysics, planetology and cosmology with scientific results greatly appreciated worldwide. INAF is composed of 21 local institutes spread over the national territory and of the “Galileo” observing facility located in La Palma, Canary Islands.

Since 2002, INAF is actively engaged in projects, both at national and international level, aimed at fostering the use of Grid technology for astronomers to carry out their everyday work, through the deployment of computing infrastructure and integration of domain-specific applications. INAF participated in the national GRID.IT multi-disciplinary project (http://server11.infn.it/firb-grid) and has led the DRACO project, specifically aimed at astrophysics. Since 2004 INAF is participating in EGEE with an unfunded application aimed at porting and running on the EGEE infrastructure the simulation software of the ESA Planck mission.

In all these projects, therefore, the core activity of INAF is the gridification of astrophysical applications as part of the effort aimed at promoting the use of the Grid within the astrophysical community.

The porting of astrophysical applications also led to the development of new tools and services to enhance the Grid capabilities (Databases and Instrumentation as embedded resources in Grid, visualization tools, etc.). INAF staff has played an active role in the development of G-DSE, a tool for native Grid access to databases which has proved in recent benchmarks its efficiency in accessing large data sets. These activities have generated two projects aimed at technological transfer to industry, one of which is being funded through the SFERA programme.

At the European level, INAF currently plays a leading role in promoting a tight interoperability between the Grid and the International Astronomical Virtual Observatory and in building a strong and stable astrophysical community within EGEE.

INAF will contribute to the IGI JRU with skilled personnel and with computational resources in several of its local institutes. For what concerns resources, the current ones attached to the INFN production Grid (80 CPU’s and around 1 TB of disk space) are planned to be expanded to more than 200 CPU’s and 10 TB. As for person-power, INAF will contribute the system administration in the connected sites so that the resources are kept available for the Grid community to use. Although the resources will be primarily allocated to computational tasks relevant to research activities in astrophysics, INAF intends to dedicate a fraction of its computational resources to the needs of other sciences, as done currently.

INAF will also bring in the IGI JRU its experience in middleware development and plans to contribute staff to the management of a production grid, wherever appropriate.