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Grid Computing
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Summary
Suppose we create an environment where we can cluster all the computers in the world and create wide area parallel and distributed computing with necessary networking protocols. Such an infrastructure is called ‘Computer Power Grid’ (CPG) or grid computing.
Keywords: CERN, future of internet, Data Grid, internet protocol, numerically intensive computing, computing power, super computer

Preamble
We have nearly 400 million PCs in the world. On average each PC is used for 10% of the time. Remaining time all the PCs are idling. This is one scenario of under utilization of available computer power. On the other hand, researchers who want to solve a gigantic problem like stellar physics of several petabytes data are in need of large computer power which is not available to them individually. It is beyond the storage capacity of any desk top computer and usually requires some 25 tera-flops (floating-point operations) per second of computer power.
Today the fastest super computer can handle a maximum of 4 Tera-flops/second. In the last 5 years, we could increase the raw speed of individual computers by a factor of around 1 million but still no where sufficient to handle many challenging scientific computing problems. This is second scenario where people are in need of large computer power in this work. Suppose we create an environment where we can cluster all the computers in the world and create wide area parallel and a distributed computing with necessary networking protocols. Such an infrastructure called ‘Computer Power Grid’ (CPG) will enable sharing, selection and aggregation of a wide variety of geographically distributed computational resources including storage systems, data sources etc owned by different organizations for solving large scale resource intensive problems by researchers in science, engineering and commerce.
CPG will be the future research area which will shortly evolve into a multi billion industry like electric power grid industry with impact on every aspect of human living.

What is Computer Power Grid?
Grid computing is a large scale networking methodology of distributed computing and virtualization of data resources such as processing, network bandwidth and storage capacity. CPG grants its users seamless access to vast IT capabilities as though interacting with a single large virtual computer. Such technology will influence the way we do research and transform scientific, engineering, commerce and many more disciplines.

Brief History
In 80’s, one could link two computers through ‘internet working protocol’. In 90’s, hyper text protocol came into existence; WWW (World Wide Web) exploded enabling linking of any two documents very convenient. In 1995, concept of grid computing was introduced by Foster and Kesselman & Stevan Tuecke while working on protocols and standards. They continued to develop this concept and for the first time, instrumental in integrating peer to peer computing and web-services to provide seamless access to remote mammoth computer power. Virtually, their protocols provide any computer the ability to peep into cyber space irrespective of location and avail resources from any nook and corner and use them for any power hungry application. With realization of CPG, organizations can optimize computing and data resources and pool them and share them judiciously with due regard to commercial viability.

What is challenge in CPG?
We know the resources which are to be put into Grid are geographically distributed across multiple administrative domains with varying availability, heterogeneity, diversity of use, varying cost and varying adaptability. Managing such vast and variable resources and scheduling of purpose at viable cost constitute a complex task. Basically CPG involves three collaborative parties namely the resource owners, resource customers and resource distributors who can join hands based on economic based frame work with certain trade-offs. Each party has to work within certain demand-supply working model for best win-win results.

Examples of large internet computing projects and software tools 
– Computer Grids
– SET1 @ home internet computing
– Parabon Computation Inc.'s Compute Against Cancer project, which analyzes patient responses to chemotherapy
– Entropia Inc.'s Fight AIDS at Home project, which evaluates prospective targets for drug discovery.
– IBM-GMAS: Grid Medical Archive solution for advanced storage technologies for health care.
– US National Science Foundation’s National Technology Grid (NSG Tera Grid)
– NASA’s information power Grid 3 (NASA IPG) World Wide Grid (WWG)
– European Data Grid
– Particle Physics Data Grid
– Grid Physics Network (Gi Phy N)
– Network for earthquake engineering simulation Grid
– Nimrod-G for providing algorithm for scheduling parameter sweep applications
– Grid-sim for simulating grid environment.
– Globus Tool Kit developed by Argonne National Laboratory and University of South California’s information Science Institute (Carl Kesselman’s Team)

Examples of existing software tools
– GRACE (Grid Architecture for Computational Economy): Economy based grid resource management and scheduling system.

Future areas of research in CPG
It is a growing field, but still at its infancy. It offers a large scope for prospective researchers to undertake research irrespective their basic discipline. Some topics are mentioned below, though the list is not exhaustive.
– Development of standard protocols and software tools to handle such computer power grids.
– Development of open-architecture and open-source infrastructure needed to construct CP Grids.
– Grid simulation and adaptive grid generation techniques.
– Management of grid resources through scalable, controllable, measurable and easily enforceable processes with regard to scalable network architecture.
– For a given deadline and budget, GC applications scheduling with cost and time optimization strategies.
– Standards based grid portal
– Management of computer grids and impact on society and human behavior.
– Modeling of computer power grid as an industry with regard to economics, cost of maintenance, trading and quality of service.
– Relationship model between CPG resource owner, provider or distributor and consumer akin to any business venture like power grid.

Conclusion
This 21st Century technology is going to change the way we live. CPG which links various computing resources will enhance human communication; provide access to unavailable data, large computation of economic scale amongst others. It will provide opportunity to join hands between CPG provider companies with scientific community for better human welfare. Future research will be carried out in virtual laboratories in which researchers will work in collaboration without regard to their physical location as well as resources location at much lower research cost.
Today we need CPG to solve many mega unresolved data handling problems in biophysics, chemistry, biology, scientific instrumentation, drug design, tomography, high energy physics, data mining, financial analysis, nuclear simulations, material science, chemical engineering, environmental studies, climate modeling, weather prediction, molecular biology and neuroscience. This list is not exhaustive.

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