A "virtual bridge" between Sicily and Europe will be soon thrown: two projects are in fact ready for departure. The aim is to make the greatest Italian island integrating part of the most advanced data transmissions nets of the world, in order to allow Sicily to approach the huge resources of calculation and memory available from the so-called Grid nets.
The two projects are respectively called "PI2S2" and "TriGrid Vl" and were introduced last 12 December during a press conference in the Aula Magna of the University of Catania. The realization of these projects is the result of the combined effort of three research Agencies: the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (Infn), the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (Ingv) and the National Institute of Astrophysics (Inaf), the University of Catania, Messina and Palermo, of Cometa Consortium, and some small and middle Sicilian enterprises (Pmi), in addition to the funds of the Sicilian Region for the Plan TriGrid Vl and of the Miur for Plan PI2S2.
From the closely practical point of view, the two plans aim at the realization of a Sicilian virtual laboratory (the first one with regional character in Italy) articulated on the three poles of Catania, Messina and Palermo. This laboratory will be the nucleus of a Sicilian Grid that will constitute a node of the worldwide Grid net.
Computational grids represent the Internet of future: in fact, they make possible, not only, the exchange of texts, images or movies, as it happens with the web, but they will also allow to share great resources of calculation and to access data banks of huge dimensions. Only a small part of the information is in fact available as text or image and therefore exchangeable via web; the major part of the information is stored instead as digital data, and therefore not directly usable. It is the case, for instance, of the data produced from satellites, environmental sensors, and instruments like the apparatuses of experiments of Lhc accelerator at CERN, or the equipments for image diagnostics. The Grid services make meet the data with the calculation resources, providing user the output of its calculations.
Access to the Grid net will allow therefore not only the scientific collaboration (on topics of fundamental and applied search) of the Universities and the Sicilian Research Agencies with the rest of the world, but it will also intensify the competitiveness of the small and middle enterprises on the regional territory. In this way an answer will be given to the ever-stronger requirement of instruments that allow the increase in the field of the scientific acquaintance and high technology, by now in progress for a long time in Sicily, also through the formation of prestige professional figures.