Middleware is the software ‘glue’ that binds together distributed computing resources. At its core it provides consistent mechanism for authenticating users, verifying that they are authorised to access the resource and then providing an interface to the underlying physical resource. Around this core are established foundation services that allow user applications to be run on large scale computer clusters and to access file stored on disk or tape at the different sites. Higher-level services build on top of these foundation services to coordinate the running of jobs and the movement of files across different sites.
EGEE uses the gLite middleware distribution, itself composed from developers within the project and from collaborators around the world. But this is not the only middleware used in production within Europe. The ARC middleware is used primarily within the Nordic DataGrid Facility while the UNICORE middleware is used primarily to link European supercomputing centres. The first keynote presentation reflects on the experiences of the European middleware community over the last decade highlighting on its achievements and the lessons learned. The second keynote presentation will describe how middleware development will evolve over the next few years to meet the challenges presented by the adoption of the European Grid Initiative.