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The DCSC Rationale

scientific illustration

In the light of globalization and increasing pressures on national economic competitiveness, many industrialized nations have a growing understanding that they must move from a physically-based to a knowledge-based economy. Crucial to this shift are factors such as: a well-educated population, strong research environments, and an advanced information and telecommunication technology (ICT) infrastructure, with accompanying advanced ICT applications. Denmark is believed to be among the nations that have the most pressing need to instigate such a shift, due to its high living and labour cost. At the same time, Denmark and its research and education environments are said to be among the most advanced in the world with respect to proliferation and understanding of almost any kind of ICT (World Economic Forum — The Networked Readiness Index 2006—2007 rankings).

Against such a background, it is a wise strategic choice for any knowledge-based society, and for Denmark in particular, to strengthen its economic foundation through combined utilisation of research and ICT. This is often termed eScience and is about using advanced ICT in research, about global collaboration within key areas of science, and about the next generation of ICT infrastructure that will enable these activities.

The basic premise of the Danish SC effort is the assumption that Denmark has a national strategic need for advanced ICT infrastructure. In particular, there is an urgent need for more scientific computing resources and Grid infrastructure. This will complement the existing advanced fibre research networks, hereby binding together these facilities in a coherent manner. The Danish National Research and Education Network (Forskningsnettet) has, like its Nordic neighbours, a long standing tradition for aiming to be among the best in the world. The Danish National Research and Education Network has a strong international cooperation framework in the Nordic NORDUnet partnership, and it received a substantial grant in 2007 from the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to complete a 10 Gbit/s fibre network build-up. An equivalent build-up was, as of 1 January 2008, also granted for scientific computing, and efforts to Gridify the Danish ICT infrastructure.

The importance of ICT infrastructure in facilitating high-end research was made clear already in 2005 by The Danish Council for Strategic Research, through the recommendations in the report "Future Research Infrastructure — An Analysis of Needs and a Proposed Strategy". Specifically, the council recommended a strengthening of the basic scientific computing infrastructure in Denmark supplied by the Danish Centre for Scientific Computing (DCSC), as well as more efforts put into its Gridification conducted through DCGC (which was merged with DCSC as of 1 January 2008).