gCitizen: A Grid Middleware for a Transparent Management of the Information about Citizens in the Public Administration

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Abstract

This paper proposes the Grid technology as an integration method of information, existing procedures and resources in the Public Administration. The exposed work supposes, from the point of view of the electronic government, an advance of future trends by means of the usage of Grid technology. On the other hand, from the perspective of Grid technology, the electronic government opens a non-evident field of application for this emergent paradigm of distributed computing. This paper explains gCitizen, which is a Grid middleware based on the GT4 components and WSRF implementation (which are the state-of-the-art in middleware for Grid computing), incorporating new protocols and services which cover the requirements for the integration purposes in the eGovernment frameworks. The system architecture has been designed to enable using the services deployed without a specific a priori knowledge of them. The gCitizen middleware also defines a data model to provide interoperability in the exchange of the information among the different gCitizen services.

Key words: eGovernment, Grid, WRSF, Globus, Interoperability, Integration

(ProQuest-CSA LLC: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1 Introduction

The Public Administration is divided into specialized parts which have their own data about the citizens. Despite having most of that information in an electronic format, it is not usually used in a coordinated way due to the absence of standards for data exchange on the eGovernment processes. On the other side, Grid technologies have been traditionally applied to scientific computing challenges. Nevertheless, that is a simplification of the Grid concepts, which were conceived for the integration of general heterogeneous systems. Currently there is a lack of protocols, mechanisms, etc. for discovering and using other services than computation or storage.

This work proposes Grid technology as an integration method of the information which is managed by the Public Administration. Grid enables a framework to improve the interoperability in the administration processes, providing important features as transparency, ubiquity, security, etc.

The gCitizen project [4] is based on the GT4 [18] components and WSRF [29] implementation, as this framework is the state-of-the-art in middleware for deploying wide area Grids. Globus Toolkit has also been erected as the current de facto standard in Grid technologies. Further than the Globus Toolkit core components, it has been developed new protocols and services which cover the requirements for the integration purposes: General Addressing Convention which provides location independence to services, a Distributed Service Discovery Architecture which avoids the need of central components for discovering services, a General Logging framework for distributing the logs in the system, an ontology for eGovernment Grid services which enables a plug-and-play usage, among others. This set of components provides features such as (1) visibility, for determining whether a service has been deployed or not; (2) mobility of services, which would ease the enhancement of the infrastructure, fabric scalability, etc., but also would enable the creation of ad-hoc infrastructures based on itinerant services provided by mobile devices; or (3) redundancy of services, which enable the component scalability, load balancing, etc.

The architecture of the system developed enables the use of the services deployed without a priori knowledge of them. This feature is achieved consulting the information properties of the services, and using any of the predefined functions of the gCitizen services.

The key component for the exchange of information is a flexible and interoperable data model which has been designed, and the mapping rules from the existing data models to the arranged one. This data model is based in the e-GIF definitions, but adapted to the particular needs of the Spanish government and the applications which this government manages. …