Fwd: IBM to Build Computing Power Grid

From Steve Jones <sjones@info.comm.uic.edu>
Date Thu, 2 Aug 2001 08:07:00 -0500
In-Reply-To <a05100305b7865b36aa50@[]>
References <a05100305b7865b36aa50@[]>

>AUGUST 02, 08:41 EDT
>IBM to Build Computing Power Grid
>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 
>electric power.''
>Governments in Britain and The Netherlands have already hired IBM to 
>help set up national computing grids for science research, 
>Wladawsky-Berger said.
>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.

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