Original story at http://www.omii.ac.uk/wiki/Nwsltr0908Rapid
Users, of course, are a problem. They want to use all kinds of distributed resources to do their science – data sets, analysis tools, you name it. Then, on top of that, they want a nice, familiar interface so they don’t have to learn some new way of interacting with their computer. And, as if that wasn’t enough, they don’t want to wait a year or so for all this to be put together. They want it now!
Help is at hand in the form of Rapid, a new system for quickly and easily joining up disparate resources and creating a user interface. Created by Jano van Hemert and his team at the NeSc, in collaboration with OMII-UK. Rapid enables developers to create web portal interfaces to grid computing infrastructures and high-performance computing resources by simply creating a single XML configuration file that defines both the user interface and its control flow. Job description, submission and execution are handled automatically. The user just sees an interface with a suitably familiar design, while the developer can readily create a new system without having to perform conventional programming.
Rapid has proved itself in action. The NanoCMOS project required a grid-enabled portal for engineers to run simulations for the development of nano-scale electronics. A prototype constructed in the usual way took fourteen months to develop. Rapid produced an equivalent system in just eight weeks.
This kind of saving in time and effort means quicker results, earlier publication and fewer resources used up in development.
Iain Coleman, NeSC.