UZH Grid

Long Title: Establishment of Grid Infrastructure at the University of Zurich
Universität Zürich
Domain: Grid
Status: finished
Start Date: 01.04.2008
End Date: 01.08.2010
Project Leader: S. Maffioletti

The project team has put an actual grid infrastructure at UZH into place. The competence center provides easy access to grid resources and expertise for users. Its overall framework setup might also serve as a model that could be transferred to other academic institutions in Switzerland as well as worldwide.


Component Description
Fully available new UZH computing infrastructure Several dedicated access nodes, login nodes, core services and monitoring nodes.
gc3pie Software package GC3pie as component to easily integrate the UZH.1 infrastructure within a scientific pipeline
Note: The core components of this software tool have been developed outside the scope of UZH.1 project
Databases in Quantum Chemistry Presentation of results obtained using the UZH.1 infrastructure to a Computational Chemistry Workshop

The initial plan for the project was to establish a campus grid infrastructure at UZH to be available and be used by a large number of internal power users as an alternative to the HPC computing infrastructure available within the IT services. Most of the effort in the initial phase of the project was to establish the Grid Computing Competence Center and position its role and responsibility.
The overall campus grid layout has been changed to better integrate the institutional resources as well as the national grid infrastructure.
The final layout is a fully sustainable local grid infrastructure that leverages both High-Performance Computing (HPC) and High-Throughput Computing (HTC) resources with a strong collaboration between the IT services, the Organic Chemistry Institute and the Grid Computing Competence Center.
The final solution is also fully integrated with the SMSCG national infrastructure thus providing to scientist end-users a larger portfolio of computing possibilities. Initial usage experiences collected from early adopters have shown the added value of such an integrated solution.

Initial situation

At the University of Zurich, grid computing efforts have already been performed in several groups and institutes since some years, but until recently have not much been coordinated to benefit a larger number of users across the institution. Now, under the lead of OCI and the IT Services and supported by groups from Biochemistry, Genomics, Physics, Banking, and Informatics, a Grid Computing Competence Center (GC3) is being set up at the University. This will provide the organizational framework to coordinate grid computing efforts at UZH. Such a competence center already establishes a single point of contact inside and outside of the institution and an interaction space for its internal and external members.


Given the large size and heterogeneity of the University of Zurich, the most challenging, workintensive, and time-consuming goal of the GC3 is to put an actual grid infrastructure at UZH into place. The following work packages will allow to reach the main goal:

  1. Campus Grid: establish an actual grid infrastructure at the University of Zurich in two stages:
    • Desktop Grid (harness unused computing power to free other HPC cluster resources at UZH for more appropriate work)
    • Campus Grid (further components might include access to development or production clusters as well as interfaces to certain applications, middleware services, or external resources)
  2. Support, training, and dissemination: help users to use the new computer infrsatructure in an appropriate way, and deliver the necessary policies (also for service providers)
  3. Application: include first a concrete application scenario for testing and demonstrating, then support applications that have already previously been adapted to (other) grid scenarios, and finally select from various new applications suggested by GC3 members or collaboration partners
  4. Collaboration and integration: integrate partner projects (SwiNG, PRAGMA, Chemomentum etc.) within GC3 grid infrastructure


The project UZH Grid will include work on:

  • The building of an actual Campus Grid hardware and middleware infrastructure
  • A framework that fosters and organizes the knowledge and usage of the GC3
  • The running of scientific applications on the Campus Grid
  • The integration of other existing and future, internal and external grid computing projects
  • The management and coordination of these efforts within the GC3