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VT Technology study for CTA

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General Project Information

  • Leader: Claudio Vuerli, INAF, Italy.
    • Administrative support for the VT project will be provided by Richard McLennan (User Community Support Officer at
    • Gergely Sipos (Technical Outreach Manager at will be responsible for the delivery of technical activities from the EGI side
  • Mailing List: TBC
  • Status: TCB
  • Start Date: TBC (duration ~6 months)
  • End Date: TBC
  • Meetings: see dedicated page


The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA ) is one of the ESFRI projects of the Astronomy & Astrophysics community. The CTA project is an initiative to build the next generation ground-based very high energy γ-ray instrument. It will serve as an open observatory to a wide astrophysics community and will provide a deep insight into the non-thermal high-energy universe. The CTA will be extremely challenging for what concerns computing and data storage resources; for this reason the use of Distributed Computing Infrastructures (DCIs) is one of the possible options that could be taken into consideration in defining and implementing the computing model of CTA. It is worth noting however that the CTA project has not taken a final decision up to now about which computing model to use. Activities in this area are currently in progress within the preparatory phase of CTA and within its partner DCIs. However the EGI grid infrastructure is already exploited by the CTA project for the production and analysis of Monte Carlo simulated data within a dedicated CTA VO. This VO is supported by about 20 computing centers in Europe. The proposed EGI VT project aims to explore and investigate potential solutions to the computing and data access issues within the computing models under investigation for the CTA observatory. In particular two technical areas will be investigated: science gateway portals and federated SSO access protocols. It is worth to underline that VT project itself and its outcome will not imply any obligation for the CTA consortium. For sure, CTA remains the key project for high-energy astrophysics in the forthcoming years with a natural aggregation capability for an entire branch of the astrophysical research; the adoption of DCIs to process data acquired through the CTA arrays could therefore be a significant step forward for the wide adoption of DCIs by the entire A&A community. In summary, the overall aim of the proposed VT project is:

“To investigate, identify and assess portal and SSO access models that may contribute to the CTA computing solutions in order to provide factually based recommendations for the way forward.” Results of this project will be shared with the principal stakeholder(s) (the CTA project).


The outcomes will be delivered prior to the CTA consortium Data Management coordinator (Giovanni Lamanna) and their publication will require his approval. If the technological solutions proposed in the outcome documents meet the needs and requirements of the CTA project they will be used to achieve the scientific and technological objectives of CTA. It is expected that these outcomes will be general enough to be re-used or taken in consideration in other astroparticle and astrophysics observatory related projects.


  1. Social network between CTA members and EGI members (from and the NGIs) (Timeline: 0.5 months)
    • The list of CTA – EGI connections are listed on the VT project Wiki page.
    • Information about CTA members is recorded in the EGI CRM system
  2. Documented CTA requirements concerning scientific gateways and an SSO system. (Timeline: 3 months)
    • Document (approved by the CTA consortium) that is publicly accessible in the EGI Document Database.
  3. Most suitable solutions from EGI and its partners that are capable to address the CTA requirements. Identified gaps in the EGI science gateways and SSO offerings to address CTA requirements. (Timeline: 5 months)
    • Document (approved by the CTA consortium) that is publicly accessible in the EGI Document Database.
  4. Final report that proposes a roadmap for CTA and EGI to setup scientific gateways and an SSO solution for the CTA community. (Timeline: 6 months)
    • Document (approved by the CTA consortium) that is publicly accessible in the EGI Document Database.

The EGI Virtual Team “Technology study for CTA” will focus on the following topics:

  1. Establish a social network between CTA and EGI through the support teams of the National Grid Infrastructures. (Timeline: 0.5 months)
  2. Use the social network to gather CTA user requirements concerning: (Timeline: 2.5 months)
    • Web based scientific gateways operated for the CTA community, making DCI resources and services from the NGIs accessible for CTA members;
    • A Single Sign On (SSO) authentication, internationally federated, mechanism that would make web-based scientific gateways accessible for the CTA community.
  3. Mapping the identified CTA requirements to solutions that exist within the EGI community and within its partners, such as the NRENs. (Timeline: 2 months)
  4. Document the findings and define a roadmap for implementing, deploying and operating an SSO solution and one or more scientific gateways for the CTA community. (Timeline: 1 month)

Besides the non-technical work (topics 1 and 4) the VT focuses on two technical areas – SSO and web based scientific gateways and portals (topics 2 and 3). These two topics are key contributors to lower the barrier of DCI access:

  • Web-based Science Gateways are community-specific set of tools, applications, and data collections that are integrated together via a web portal, providing access to resources and services from a distributed computing infrastructure. These gateways can support a variety of capabilities including workflows handling, virtualization of software and hardware, visualization as well as resource discovery, job execution services, access to data collections, applications and tools for data analysis. A science gateway enables community members to define and perform custom research scenarios or other types of use cases.
  • Single Sign On solutions simplify access control to multiple related, but independent software systems. Through SSO a user logs in once and gains access to all systems he/she needs to carry out activities without being prompted to log in again at each of them. SSO solutions can be relevant for the human and automated workflows of CTA that need to use software, data and resources from multiple systems.

The EGI community has experience and knowledge in both of these areas and this can be leveraged for CTA through this VT:

  • Several NGIs, and EGI partner projects (e.g. SCI-BUS ) develop and operate web based science gateways for scientific communities. These gateways and their enabling technologies are listed on a dedicated section of the EGI Website and could be leveraged for CTA gateways.
  • A currently running EGI VT will produce a “Science Gateway Primer” , a comprehensive document that collects information about technologies, policies, solutions that exist from the EGI community for gateway developers. These documented technologies, policies and solutions can be leveraged for CTA gateways.
  • EGI works in partnership with the National Research and Education Network (NREN) . Many of the NREN members operate national identity federations and these federations could be leveraged for an SSO for CTA.
  • EGI works in partnership with TERENA which operates eduGAIN , a service that connects NREN national federations into an inter-federation and which could be leveraged for the setup of an SSO for CTA.
  • The Czech NGI operates a Single Sign On system on behalf of for the whole EGI community. This system and the experience of the Czech NGI in setting up similar systems could be leveraged for an SSO for CTA.


  • CNRS/IN2P3/LAPP, Annecy, France
    • Giovanni Lamanna, Nadine Neyroud, Cecile Barbier, Nukri Komin
  • University of Barcelona/ICC, Barcelona, Spain
    • Ricardo Graciani
  • INAF, Italy
    • Claudio Vuerli, Ugo Becciani, Alessandro Costa, Fabio Vitello



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