Scientists, academics laud grid computing

Grid computing is shaping what a lot of scientists get out of their research nowadays--a message that was echoed by scientists and professors from various sciences in one of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) sessions during the annual meeting in San Francisco on Friday.

Some of those projects include simulating the impacts of earthquakes, fighting diseases like malaria and AIDS, discovering previously unknown material of the universe and predicting climate change. The grid has not only aids scientific research, it is also having an impact on the commercial and financial world. The large amount of data available when sharing information in a cyber infrastructure equivalent to a grid is much more efficient and quicker to analyze than downloading and doing research on only one computer, some at the confab said.

Grid computing gives scientists almost endless resources to work with. It also creates opportunities to work over the borders, for example, biologists working together with chemists. Five years ago, research would be made in a supercomputer based on batch computing on individual resources. Today, scientists can choose from 10 to 20 supercomputers, either one could give them the best data.

"A cultural shift in thinking," is how Ruth Pordes, executive director of Open Science Grid and moderator of the meeting, characterized the change. And the design and deployment of large, multi-site Grids are still evolving.

One of the scientific infrastructures where scientists can access databases is TeraGrid grounded by National Science Foundation. It enables secure access to more than 100 discipline-specific databases.

 

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