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August 20, 2013

Grid Computing May Universal Access To Supercomputing

The Grid

Future of the Internet
Grid computing, currently being used by researchers at CERN in Switzerland to help uncover secrets from the Large Hadron Collider, will soon be available to everyone, allowing individuals to access super-computing power. The system is being called the next World Wide Web.

Scientists at CERN in Switzerland and in the US are now developing a new kind of computer system that is already being described as the next World Wide Web.

Called the Worldwide Grid, it would give users access to the computing power of all the machines connected to a network no matter where they are in the world.

The technology could turn your desktop computer into a supercomputer in the not-too-distant future and is now being adapted to allow mobile devices such as phones and tablets to connect.

Physicists at CERN have been using to the world’s biggest Grid computing network since 2002, combining more than 200,000 computers together, allowing them to analyze more than 26 million gigabytes of data produced by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) each year.

Ian Bird, LHC Computing Grid project leader at CERN, says, “The Grid that we have implemented for physics is a mechanism to allow scientists to share data and collaborate. It brings together disparate resources from around the world so that they are working as if they are single system."

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“It solves a problem where we do not have the money to build a big computer center."

The Worldwide LHC Computing Grid has already helped identify the particle that is now believed to be the best candidate for the elusive Higgs Boson.

Presently the LHC Computing Grid is now undergoing an upgrade as the rest of the LHC is similarly upgraded to increase its power.

Based on the past three years of use, scientists are intending to improve the efficiency of the system while also decreasing its complexity.

Physicists have also recently been able to access CERNs grid using mobile devices like iPhones and iPads to submit work, monitor results and control processes.

Bird said the computing power of the mobile devices themselves does not contribute greatly to the resources available in the Grid, but this may change in the future.

The average iPhone now contains more computing power than early supercomputers.

Another computing Grid being developed by IBM and University of California, Berkley, is also already attempting to tap into the computing power of mobile devices

The World Community Grid now allows Google’s Android devices to work on the Grid.

Last month researchers began using the combined power of volunteer’s handsets to search for new drug candidates against HIV.

Around 20,000 smartphones are now on the network, along with 500,000 personal computers.

There are currently several other Grid computing systems in operation around the world that are being used by groups of scientists to help them with research, including the search for extraterrestrial life and identifying potential new drugs.

Experts hope that as more computers join the systems and they link together, a Worldwide Grid will be created, giving access to resources around the world at the touch of a button.

It is fitting that CERN is behind the creation of The Grid, as it is also the organization behind the World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist at CERN, invented the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989. The web was originally conceived and developed to meet the demand for automatic information sharing between scientists in universities and institutes around the world.

SOURCE  The Telegraph, Top Image: Disney Wikia

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