The National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) is the Italian research agency dedicated to the study of the fundamental constituents of matter and the laws that govern them, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR).
It conducts theoretical and experimental research in the fields of subnuclear, nuclear and astro-particle physics. All of the INFN’s research activities are undertaken within a framework of international competition, in close collaboration with Italian universities on the basis of solid academic partnerships spanning decades. Fundamental research in these areas requires the use of cutting-edge technology and instruments, developed by the INFN at its own laboratories and in collaboration with industries.
In the ICT area, INFN has been developing all along in-house open innovative solutions for its own advanced needs of distributed computing and software applications. It has a remarkable excellence expertise on Grid and Cloud technologies, having fostered and participated, with leadership roles, to many of the large Projects financed by EC, that promoted the realization of the European Grid Infrastructure – EGI. The Grid middleware (among INFN “products”: VOMS, CREAM, StoRM), based on open standards and protocols and high level security technologies, provides the researcher with an integrated access to computing and storage systems, heterogeneous and owned by various institutions, establishing a new scalable paradigm, replicable in other
sectors of the society (e.g. e-Government). INFN is in fact a founding member of EGI consortium and WLCG project.
In particular, at CNAF it is hosted one of the WLCG Tier-1s, providing computing and storage resources to several other scientific collaborations. INFN is also a founding member of GARR, the Italian Academic and Research Network (Italy’s NREN), and it has been managing this organization on behalf of the Government until June 2003. In two recent large Smart Cities projects funded by the Italian Ministry of Education and Research (MIUR), PRISMA and Open City Platform, which involve a large number of ICT
Italian companies, INFN has the responsibility of the development of the federated open source IaaS platform and a key role in the development of a specific PaaS for the Public Administration. In this context, INFN is profiting from the large expertise developed with the grid middleware, based on open standards and protocols and on high-level security technologies. The final goal of these projects is to provide an integrated access to a pilot PA infrastructure composed of heterogeneous Data Centers and owned by various institutions, thus establishing also in eGovernment and eHealth sectors a novel and more efficient way of providing services to citizens and enterprises.
Today INFN directly employs about 2,000 scientists, and supports the research activities of other 3,000 associates; their work is recognized internationally not only for their contribution to various European laboratories, but also to numerous research centers worldwide.