Fwd: IBM to Build Computing Power Grid
Steve Jones <email@example.com>
Thu, 2 Aug 2001 08:07:00 -0500
>AUGUST 02, 08:41 EDT
>IBM to Build Computing Power Grid
>By JIM KRANE
>AP Technology Writer
>NEW YORK (AP) - IBM is betting that computing power will evolve into
>a simple utility - like electricity - with users buying what they
>need from a computing grid instead of owning large computers
>To capitalize, IBM is investing $4 billion to build 50 computer
>server farms around the world, said Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a vice
>president at IBM's Server Group.
>IBM likened the system to computing power-generation plants.
>``You'll get computing power and storage capacity - not from your
>own computer - but over the Internet on demand,'' said
>Wladawsky-Berger, who also heads Big Blue's Linux operating system
>group. ``You pay for what you use, pretty much the way you do with
>Governments in Britain and The Netherlands have already hired IBM to
>help set up national computing grids for science research,
>IBM's vision of grid computing is based on networks already in use
>by NASA and in universities and research labs that link hundreds or
>thousands of nodes, or machines, which may be scattered around the
>world. The grids focus the computers' combined power on a single
>An example is the SETI(at)home, or Search for Extraterrestrial
>Intelligence project, a network that uses donated PC power to
>analyze radio-telescope data for sounds of alien life.
>With practically unlimited data storage and enormous computing
>power, grid computing could accelerate math-intensive research into
>a cancer cure, oil exploration, a fuel-efficient engine or climate
>prediction, said Jonathan Eunice, principal analyst for Illuminata,
>Inc., a technology researcher in Nashua, N.H.
>``This is making grid computing available on an Internet scale,''
>said Eunice. ``A large network now is 5,000 nodes. With this, you
>can open the bidding at 50,000 or hundreds of thousands of nodes.
>Even millions of nodes are open to you.''
>Grid computing uses an open-source protocol and software called
>Globus, developed by researchers in the U.S. Department of Energy
>and the University of Southern California. The project is funded by
>the federal departments of Defense, Energy, the National Science
>Foundation and NASA, and uses donated equipment from Cisco Systems
>Globus' software allows computers to share data, power and software.
>As an open-source protocol, it aims to mimic the success of the
>open-source Linux operating system, which reaps frequent
>improvements to its open source code, said Carl Kesselman, who heads
>USC's Globus development team.
>The Globus Toolkit software is available for free download on the Internet.
>Armed with the software and a group of partners, Globus allows
>researchers to form ``virtual organizations'' with members combining
>pieces of the research puzzle over the network, said Kesselman.
>A typical use might be to lump together design elements of a new
>aircraft, from modeling for jet engines to schemes for the fuselage
>and wing shapes, he said.
>``Many of the big scientific advances in recent years came from
>mathematical modeling,'' said Eunice. ``Once you understand what
>equations apply, you can start simulating.''
>With utility-based pricing, researchers will have quick access to
>for-profit computing grids like IBMs, which means they won't have to
>invest in servers, space to store them, and staff to operate them.
>``I may be able to afford 2,000 servers, but not 50,000 servers,''
>said Eunice. ``This is much more power than I can buy myself. That's
>a pretty strong motivation to rent instead of buy.''
>Darker uses for virtual supercomputers also loom. Supercomputers are
>already used for nuclear weapons modeling in the United States and
>other developed countries. Eunice suggested grids may be used for
>weapons research elsewhere, or to break network encryption codes.
>On the Net:
>Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
electromagnetism / infrastructure / civilization