CCLRC logo GROWL VRE Demonstrator


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The GROWL project is a framework in which we can develop and evaluate Grid services in environments familiar to many scientific programmers.

A need has been identified for a client toolkit which can provide very light-weight but extensible access to Grid resources (owls are very light and quiet for their size). We are therefore initially creating libraries in C/ C++ and R, interfacing to a set of existing services derived from HPCPortal, DataPortal and InfoPortal which are part of IeSE, the CCLRC Integrated e-Science Environment. It should be possible to install this library on a variety of client workstations with a minimum of additional software.

This Web site gives the background, some examples and links to installation details for the C and R versions of GROWL.

Current News

GROWL Scripts download

NW-GRID Training Event - Daresbury, Jan 25/26th 2007

Lightweight Grid Computing Workshop - Castleton, May 2006



GROWL is a client interface to a Grid programming environment. Its ongoing development will continue to form part of CCLRC's Integrated e-Science Environment, IeSE, project. GROWL is IeSE with teeth (owls are hunters). IeSE also includes the development of Web-based portal interfaces: HPCPortal, InfoPortal and DataPortal and more importantly their underlying services. GROWL provides an alternative light-weight interface to some of these services.

This was originally not funded, but has now received funding from JISC. It is not drag'n'drop, not yet good computer science, nor best practice and is still a research project. It is Hand Knitted Software. If you have comments, questions or suggestions please contact the authors.

GROWL is a purely client-side Grid programming environment, it does not help you to create Web or Grid services. It does not help you put your computer on the Grid. The software and functionality is kept to a minimum for ease of installation and use. Some background information and the research agenda for the project are documented in these separate reports:

Towards tractable toolkits for the Grid: a plea for light-weight, usable middleware. [HTML]
Programming the Grid: User Interfaces and Functionality [HTML]
Programming the Grid: Portal Services Documentation [HTML]

System Requirements and Dependencies

You do not need to have root access to install GROWL and you do not need to open any firewall ports!

A definate aim of this project is to keep the number of dependencies to a minimum. This is to enable GROWL to be installed on a normal Linux or other Unix workstation with a standard-compliant C compiler and Perl interpreter. It can be installed alongside a Grid-enabled application which uses the GROWL C libraries. There are however certain new functions which currently have to be carried out on the client workstation and some additional software has to be installed to make this possible. So far GROWL is distributed with installation scripts and source for the following packages:

  • GROWL source and portable build system using make
  • Globus v2.4.3 - only the GPT (packaging) and GSI (security) packages are used - needs Perl and gcc (or equivalent). For the demonstrator we are using VDT which is fully maintained.
  • OpenSSL v0.9.6i or later - this is included with the Globus GSI package
  • gSOAP v2.1.10 orlater - C/C++ toolkit for Web services - needs yacc or bison, flex and gcc (or equivalent)
  • SOAP::LITE - Perl Web service toolkit (optional, used for some of the commands, but not essential) - these need Perl
  • SRB Scommands - C client for Storage Resource Broker
Additional dependencies include:
  • A C compiler, e.g. gcc
  • Perl v5.8.1 or similar
  • A Yacc compiler, e.g. yacc or bison (optional)
  • The Flex lexical analysis toolkit (optional)
  • R v1.8.1 functional-programming environment (optional, if you want to use the R interface)


GROWL is kept very simple to enable wrapping by a number of interfaces. We currently have protoypes:

  • C library
  • R library
  • Helper scripts

See documentation and software pages for further details.


This is evolving all the time with feedback from various users and discussions at workshops. Tell us what you need and we will think of a way to make it work within the GROWL framework! We already have input from colleagues working in the areas of Bio-informatics, Chemistry, Physics and Social Science.

Download and Installation

Downloads are not yet available. This site will be updated as soon as wider testing begins. See download page for further details.


The GROWL project is currently funded by JISC under its programme for developing a Virtual Research Environment. Some additional funding is from CCLRC via the OSI. Recently GROWL has been included in the ESRC e-Infrastructure project and additional funding will enable it to eb deployed and adapted to meet their requirements.

The digital image used on this page is of Molly, a rather photogenic owl who appears in (at least one of) the Harry Potter films. Molly is a Canadian Great Grey Owl (Strix Nebulosa). She lives at the Hawk Conservancy, Andover, Hampshire. You can find out about the species via the original Web site, and see her flying at the conservancy. The DHD Multimedia Gallery site is maintained by Damon Hart-Davis in London and provides free downloads of a variety of high quality images. See and

This document can best viewed with any browser Site is developed and maintained by R.J. Allan
"Hand Knitted Software" 2005-6
Last Modified: Tuesday, 02-Jan-2007 10:39:09 GMT