SHIWA technology in a nutshell SHIWA technology in a nutshell

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What is the ER-flow project about? What is the ER-flow project about?

The FP7 "Building a European Research Community through Interoperable Workflows and Data" (ER-flow) project disseminates the achievements of the SHIWA project and use these achievements to build workflow user communities across Europe. ER-flow provides application supports to research communities within and beyond the project consortium to develop, share and run workflows with the SHIWA Simulation Platform.


The project started on the 1st September, 2012 and lasts 26 months.

For technical details please visit the SHIWA webpage.

What can ER-flow do for you? What can ER-flow do for you?

What can ER-flow do for you?

ER-flow provides various tools, online services, training and consultancy for scientific communities. Research teams from astrophysics, computation chemistry, heliophysics and life sciences are already benefiting from ER-flow's support in the following ways: 

  • Capture scientific calculations into workflows that can be reused by other members of the community.  
  • Run each other's scientific calculations for example, to repeat or demonstrate experiments for training purposes. 
  • Integrate multiple scientific models into a single workflow computation, including models using different workflow languages and different execution systems. 
  • Enrich community-specific web portals with online services that support the development, sharing and execution of workflows. 
  • Translate and restructure workflows written or designed in different environments for the simple reuse in other environments. 
  • Collect, analyse and address requirements on the interoperability of scientific data when used and processed by workflows. 

ER-flow helps you to improve the repeatability and the reusability of your applications within and beyond scientific collaborations. Its open platform enables the interoperability and integration of workflow systems, workflow engines and workflow languages. ER-flow provides services and support for the development, sharing, execution, integration and flexible reuse of scientific workflows. The training events, community workshops and one-to-one consultations organised by ER-flow help you and your community to become adept workflow users. 

The SHIWA Simulation Platform

What are scientific workflows? What are scientific workflows?

What are scientific workflows?

The sequence of computational and data manipulation steps required to perform a specific scientific analysis is called a workflow. Workflows that orchestrate data and/or compute intensive applications on Distributed Computing Infrastructures (DCIs) recently became standard tools in e-science. At the same time the broad and fragmented landscape of workflows and DCIs slows down the uptake of workflow-based work.

Workflows allow the reuse of software, applications and simulations. They are a powerful mechanism to develop, execute and share scientific calculations. Workflows allow researchers to share procedures with colleagues and become more efficient.  

The development, sharing, integration and execution of workflows is still a challenge for many scientists. The FP7 "Sharing Interoperable Workflow for Large-Scale Scientific Simulation on Available DCIs" (SHIWA) project significantly improved the situation, with a simulation platform that connects different workflow systems, different workflow languages, different DCIs and workflows into a single, interoperable unit.

Community workflows

Click to see the workflows of the ER-flow communities

What is the SHIWA Simulation Platform? What is the SHIWA Simulation Platform?

The SHIWA Simulation Platform is a service package, already used by various scientific communities, and used as a tool by the recently started ER-flow FP7 project to expand the use of workflows among European scientists. The presentation will introduce the SHIWA Simulation Platform and the services that ER-flow provides based on the platform to space and earth science researchers.

The SHIWA Simulation Platform includes:

  1. SHIWA Repository: A database where workflows and meta-data about workflows can be stored. The database is a central repository to discover and share workflows within and among communities.
  2. SHIWA Portal: A web portal that is integrated with the SHIWA Repository and includes a workflow executor engine that can orchestrate various types of workflows on various grid and cloud platforms.
  3. SHIWA Desktop: A desktop environment that provides similar access capabilities than the SHIWA Portal, however it runs on the users' desktops/laptops instead of a portal server.
  4. Workflow engines: the ASKALON, Galaxy, GWES, Kepler, LONI Pipeline, MOTEUR, Pegasus, P-GRADE, ProActive, Triana, Taverna and WS-PGRADE workflow engines are already integrated with the execution engine of the SHIWA Portal. Other engines can be added when required.

How can I use the SHIWA Simulation Platform? How can I use the SHIWA Simulation Platform?

Through the SHIWA Portal one can define and run simulations on the SHIWA Virtual Organisation, an e-infrastructure that gathers computing and data resources from various DCIs, including the European Grid Infrastructure. The Portal via third party workflow engines provides support for the most widely used academic workflow engines and it can be extended with other engines on demand. Such extensions translate between workflow languages and facilitate the nesting of workflows into larger workflows even when those are written in different languages and require different interpreters for execution.

Through the workflow repository and the portal lonely scientists and scientific collaborations can share and offer workflows for reuse and execution. Given the integrated nature of the SHIWA Simulation Platform the shared workflows can be executed online, without installing any special client environment and downloading workflows.


   This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 312579.