Examples of Grid Computing Projects.
A number of ambitious Grid projects, largely scientific in conception,
have been implemented in recent years that require large amounts
of data crunching. Most prominent among the early projects have
been Compute Against Cancer and the SETI@Home project. The latter
of these projects now harnesses the previously unused CPU time of
over half a million personal computers and delivers the equivalent
of 1,000 CPU years per day to the task of analyzing radio data from
outer space. Likewise, networking brings the possibility of linking
people in ways that magnify their knowledge and the contribution
they can make to an organization.
In a future in which computing,
storage, and software are no longer objects we possess, but utilities
to which we subscribe, the most successful scientific communities
are likely to be those that succeed in assembling and making effective
use of Grid infrastructures and thus accelerating the development
and adoption of new problem-solving methods within their discipline.
Grid computing is not limited to scientific applications.
Major hardware providers such as Sun, IBM, and HP/Compaq are pursuing
the use of massive grid computing to create new generation of networked
computing and powerful applications solutions that they will make
available to their customers over the Web.
Similar in spirit to the partnerships that created
the Internet as we know it today, the Internet2 initiative is primarily
a US-based consortium led by around 200 universities working with
industry and government to develop and deploy advanced network applications
and technologies. Its goals are to:
- create leading edge network capability for the research community;
- enable development of revolutionary Internet applications; and
- ensure rapid transfer of new network services and applications
to the broader Internet community.
Internet2 Applications. Within formal
education settings, there are already applications of Internet2
capability being developed, many of which make use of the high bandwidth
and digital video processing potential. For example, the Laboratory
for Computational Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota
has developed Internet2 tools to enhance its distributed learning
capability. Its researchers are pursuing collaborative scientific
visualization techniques that utilize high performance computing
across distributed networks. . In principle, the Internet2 could
be used to make the results of such computations available to groups
of learners and to provide those groups with some form of video
conferencing without requiring old-style ISDN (telephone-company)
video conferencing equipment.
As a collaborative effort on a much larger scale,
the Internet2 K20 initiative brings together Internet2 member institutions,
primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, libraries,
and museums to apply advanced networking tools, applications, and
e-content in the pursuit of early innovation.
As with Grid projects, Internet2 also builds on the
distributed architecture and collaborative potential of the Internet.
The Internet2 Commons is a framework for collaboration
established for large-scale research within the education community
based upon collaborative tools. Initially, these tools have primarily
been enabled to work within a video-conferencing platform but it
is planned to develop the framework to focus on other interactive
services as well.
While there is a small degree of international collaboration,
at present the Internet2 project is still largely driven by and
for a United States constituency. (ref: Internet2 K20. www.internet2.edu/k20)