MeSsAGE Lab

About the laboratory

Application development lifecycle

The Monash e-Science and Grid Engineering (MeSsAGE) Laboratory performs research and development on software tools and techniques for programming e-Science applications. Our research projects address life cycle issues as software evolves through the phases of development, deployment, test and execution. Importantly, we assume that this life cycle is performed continuously, thus, software evolution does not stop after execution, but enters development again. We particularly focus on legacy systems in which existing software is brought into Grid computing environments. The MeSsAGE Lab is one of three collaborating laboratories that comprise the Centre for Distributed Systems and Software Engineering (DSSE) . It has strong e-Science and e-Research connections both within Monash University and internationally. For example, our researchers have played a significant role in the development of Monash's e-Research Centre  since 2005, where Professor Abramson currently serves as the Science Director.

Our research group has built a number of software tools that address some of the challenges cited in our Web, with a special focus on the Upper Middleware/Tools in the diagram below. In particular, Nimrod and GriddLeS target software development; Guard focuses on debugging; Grid WorqBench and DistAnt target deployment and Nimrod, GriddLeS, Active Sheets, REMUS and the Nimrod Portal all focus on execution.

Much of this work is done in collaboration with international partners. For example, research conducted on the PRAGMA  testbed concerns local applications and middleware, but performed in collaboration with partners from the Pacific Rim. This not only resulted in improvements to our locally developed middleware (Nimrod), but also interesting science results (reported in scientific journals) and a better understanding on how to run international grids, reported in computer science journals.

Personnel

MeSsAGE Lab Team February 2009

MeSsAGE Lab has a core of up to six research scientists and developers/programmers, supplemented by an average of four HDR students, usually PhDs who assist the general research effort of the group in addition to working on their theses. The group also has a very active visitor program, mostly funded by the external bodies who see value in having their people work with such an e-Science/Grids team. Monash eResearch Centre staff also work closely with MeSsAGE Lab.

Standing in Photo left to right: Minh Dinh, Colin Enticott, Slavisa Garic, Blair Bethwaite, Tirath Ramdas, Jefferson Tan, Donny Kurniawan

Seated: Tom Peachey, David Abramson, Rob Gray

Missing from Photo: Philip Chan, Shahaan Ayyub, A.B.M. Russel, Wojtek Goscinski, Chao Jin


Goals

MeSsAGE Lab is aimed at supporting scientists in what they do best -Science. It does this by a combination of Middleware and Software tools designed to work over computing grids. MeSsAGE Lab's most well known software is a suite called Nimrod, but the laboratory has produced many different prototype over the years.

e-Science and e-Research

e-Science, enabled by the Grid computing paradigm (and more recent emergent technologies such as Cloud computing), tightly couples scientists, their instruments, massive storage devices and powerful computational devices. It uses high-performance computers (or clusters of these computers), huge databases and massive or multiple scientific instruments, to link research teams internationally and solve previously intractable problems in areas as diverse as aeroplane engine design, climate modelling and drug design.

The computational grid has promised a great deal in support of innovative applications, particularly in science and engineering but developing applications can be demanding. A range of upper middleware services and tools are being developed with the aim of solving the software engineering challenges in building real applications.



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