South Africa will take its place among its global peers in the e-science arena when it participates in the international software validation run of software to simulate the passage of particles through matter.
Geant4 is the toolkit for the simulation of the passage of particles through matter. It is produced by a collaboration spanning the global community and is widely used by researchers in South Africa, especially the iThemba Laboratory for Accelerator-Based Science in Cape Town. Its areas of application include high energy, nuclear and accelerator physics, as well as studies in medical and space science.
Every six months, the collaboration plans a software validation run in preparation for the next release (which aims to reproduce most known nuclear physics standard experiments) by simulating these processes.
This massive computing exercise consumes millions of central processing unit (CPU) hours, and is run on the world's grid scientific grid computing infrastructure. This year, SAGrid will participate to the validation run, by making available the eight sites on the South African national grid. The run is coordinated from CERN in Europe and includes several grid sites around the world, eventually ensuring that the nuclear simulation code remains of an exceedingly high quality.
The SAGrid is an enabling environment that provides power and storage through eight sites for users to access securely to computing power and systems. SA Grid coordinator Dr Bruce Becker of the CSIR comments, "SAGrid has been running several service challenges over the last couple of months to ensure that the national grid is ready for these kinds of intense computing needs for various use cases. We've had the worldwide e-NMR collaboration running several weeks' worth of protein structure calculations on our sites recently. The Large Hadron Collider experiment ALICE (Accelerators and Lasers In Combined Experiments) regularly sends jobs our way.
"South Africa is a fast-emerging player in this kind of global science, thanks to the integrated infrastructure initiative, which relies critically on the South African National Research Network. The recent creation of the continental Regional Operations Centre for Africa ensures that we are able to provide coordinated user and applications support seamlessly to these large collaborations, as well as to researchers from across Africa."
Usage of the Geant4 toolkit on the national grid is available to any South African researcher who is involved in nuclear science, and interested people are invited to contact the User Coordination group. More information is available from Bruce Becker.