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Grid computing

Grid computing is a model for solving massive computational problems using large numbers of computers arranged as clusters embedded in a distributed telecommunications infrastructure.

Grid computing is designed to solve problems too big for any single supercomputer, whilst retaining the flexibility to work on multiple smaller problems. Thus, grid computing is a multi-user environment.

For this reason, secure authorization techniques are essential to allow computing resources to be controlled by remote users.

Grid computing involves sharing heterogenous resources (based on different platforms, hardware/software architectures, computer languages), located in different places belonging to different administrative domains over a network using open standards. In short, it involves virtualizing computing resources. Functionally, grids are classified into Computational Grids (including CPU scavenging[?] grids) and Data Grids.

The Globus Toolkit has emerged as the de facto standard for grid middleware.

Globus has protocols to handle

  1. Resource Management: Grid Resource Management Protocol (GRAM)
  2. Information Services: Monitoring and Discovery Service (MDS)
  3. Data Movement and management: Global Access to Secondary Storage (GASS) and GridFTP

Most of the grids spanning research and academic communities in North america and Europe are based on Globus Toolkit for the core middleware.

XML-based web services offers a way for accessing diverse services/applications in a distributed environment. Recently, the world of Grid computing and Web Services are coming together to offer Grid as a web service (Grid Service. The architecture is defined by the Open Grid Services Architecture[?] (OGSA). Several functionalities will be offered adhering to the semantics of the Grid Service.

Grid offers a way to solve Grand Challenge problems[?] like protein folding and drug discovery, financial modelling, earthquake simulation, climate/weather modelling etc. They offer a way for using the IT resources optimally in an organisation. They also offer a means to offer IT as an utility for businesses for which they need to pay only for what they use, as with electricity or water.

See also:


  • Ian Foster, Carl Kesselman (1999) The Grid: Blueprint for a New Computing Infrastructure. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers. ISBN 1558604758. Website. (http://www.mkp.com/grids/)
  • Fran Berman, Anthony J.G. Hey, Geoffrey Fox (2003) Grid Computing: Making The Global Infrastructure a Reality. Wiley. ISBN 0470853190. Online version. (http://www.grid2002.org/)

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