Grid software project goes international

Globus, a group that creates grid software to link multiple computers and storage systems, changes its official name and governing board to reflect its expansion.

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Stephen Shankland
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Globus, a group that creates grid software to link multiple computers and storage systems, has changed its official name and governing board to reflect an international expansion it hopes will bring it new expertise.

Formerly called the Globus Project, it will now be known as the Globus Alliance, the group said Tuesday.

Three organizations in the United States founded Globus in 1995: Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute and the University of Chicago.

Globus has since added two European members as key partners: the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the Swedish Center for Parallel Computers. The Edinburgh researchers have expertise in work that lets databases run on grids, while the Swedish group will expand security work, Globus said.

Grid computing grew up in academia as a way to share computing equipment across organizations and regions. Globus, with involvement from corporations such as IBM, is retooling its Globus Toolkit grid management software to use Web-services standards in an attempt to make the technology more business-friendly.

Ultimately, grid tools for pooling computing equipment could become a key part of "utility computing" efforts at companies such as IBM, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard to cut costs and increase reliability by unifying disparate systems. The Globus Toolkit, an open-source software project, has the potential to bring these separate utility computing efforts closer together, some believe.

Globus has also established a board to govern the Globus Toolkit project. The project had been run informally by Ian Foster of Argonne and the University of Chicago; Carl Kesselman and Karl Czajkowski of the University of Southern California; and Steven Tuecke of Argonne. Now there is an official board that includes those four as well as Malcolm Atkinson and Mark Parsons of the University of Edinburgh and Olle Mulmo and Lennart Johnsson of the Swedish Center for Parallel Computers, Globus said.

As part of the effort to formalize the Globus initiative, the group has also added an academic affiliates program to ensure that other educational groups have a voice in its direction and technology, Globus said.