Kirk L. Kroeker "Technology, too, obeys the law of responding, of answering a call at whose origin we are encountering so much static." -- Avital Ronell

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Grid Computing's Future

By Kirk L. Kroeker

Outreach programs and usability improvements are drawing many researchers to grid computing from disciplines that have not traditionally used such resources.

In recent years, several powerful research grids consisting of thousands of computing nodes, dozens of data centers, and massive amounts of bandwidth have emerged, but few of these grids have received much attention in the mainstream media. Unlike seti@home, folding@home, and other highly focused grid projects that have captured the popular imagination by allowing home users to donate compute cycles, the big research grids are not accessible to the public and their fame does not extend far beyond the researchers who use them. Outreach teams and usability engineers at the largest of these new grids, such as Naregi, Egee, and TeraGrid, are trying to change that reality by helping to facilitate the adoption of grid technologies in fields that have not traditionally used grid-based supercomputing resources.

(This article appeared in CACM, vol. 54, no. 3, March 2011, pp. 15-17.)

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