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Web services supercomputing coming of age

A new generation of supercomputing Web services applications supporting e-government is emerging at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), according to officials at Blue Titan Software Inc., a supplier of software to SDSC.

The center at the University of California, San Diego is creating a ''multi-agency hub'' that will gather information from a variety of government sources for ''futuristic'' Web services applications, said Sam Boonin, vice president of marketing at San Francisco-based Blue Titan.

Going beyond simple Web service integration of data from silos stored in different government systems, SDSC will use its supercomputing technology for analysis that will create innovative report and alert applications, Boonin said.

SDSC is working with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego to create a Web services application to gather information from monitoring devices in the ocean and provide e-mail alerts on levels of toxic chemicals, he said. In this application, information on a chemical spill would be automatically relayed to lifeguards and other ''first responders,'' Boonin explained.

''They call it a standards-based early warning network,'' he said. ''Making it all based on SOAP and XML means that first responders can get the alerts on a variety of devices.''

The development of the inter-agency hub at SDSC uses Web services management software provided by Blue Titan, one of the new vendors in the emerging service-oriented management market, Boonin said.

Without the Web services management layer, SDSC would not be able to develop its inter-agency hub applications, according to Chaitan Baru, co-director of SDSC's Data and Knowledge System (DAKS) program.

Service-oriented management products are crucial to the development of sophisticated Web services applications that go beyond internal integration projects, according to Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst at ZapThink, the XML and Web services-focused industry analyst group. A recent ZapThink report (http://www.zapthink.com) predicted that the market for service-oriented management software will grow to $9.2 billion in the next five years. Bloomberg said start-ups such as Blue Titan -- which was founded in 2001 -- will soon face stiff competition from major vendors such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Computer Associates, all of which are planning to introduce Web services management products in the next two years.

Network Director, the Blue Titan product SDSC is deploying, provides a layer for managing security and monitoring the availability and reliability of the Web services the center is pulling together in its hub applications, Blue Titan's Boonin said.

For more information on Blue Titan, click on http://www.bluetitan.com. Information on SDSC is available at http://www.sdsc.edu.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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