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The Growing Grid Community

Just as the Web began in an effort to facilitate collaboration among researchers, the Grid's initial motivation was to advance the sharing of computational resources for science and engineering. The Globus Alliance's precursor organization, the Globus Project, started in 1995 with funding from DARPA and grew to its present international scope through investments by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and NASA. Large-scale research deployments are under way in the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific for applications in high-energy physics, earthquake engineering and simulation, fusion energy, and biomedical imaging, to name but a few.

Since 2001, Globus Toolkit sponsors have included such corporations as IBM and Microsoft Research. The private sector has gravitated to the Globus Toolkit as the platform for a wide range of commercial services and applications. Companies committed to using the toolkit as their standard Grid software include Avaki, Cray, Entropia, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Oracle, Platform Computing, Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems, and Veridian. The NSF Middleware Initiative's GRIDS Center (See Sidebar) has compiled a Grid Projects and Deployments System with descriptions of organizations worldwide that are using the Globus Toolkit and related technologies for research and commerce.

For users and developers seeking to participate in the Grid community, public conferences of the Global Grid Forum (GGF) and Globus Alliance offer excellent opportunities for enrichment. GGF meets quarterly, three times in the United States and once abroad, to facilitate discussion of proposed standards. And the GlobusWORLD annual conference (see Sidebar) features sessions and workshops focusing on Grid applications of interest to users from the industry and academic sectors.

In future instalments, we will address specific Grid components and capabilities in greater detail, with the goal of providing in-depth technical details that ClusterWorld readers can use.

Sidebar One: Grid Resources

What is a Grid?

Globus Website

Global Grid Forum (GGF)


NSF Middleware Initiative's GRIDS Center

The Globus Consortium

This work was supported in part by the Mathematical, Information, and Computational Sciences Division subprogram of the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy, under Contract W-31-109-ENG-38; by the National Science Foundation; by the NASA Information Power Grid program; and by IBM.

This article was originally published in ClusterWorld Magazine. It has been updated and formated for the web. If you want to read more about HPC clusters and Linux you may wish to visit Linux Magazine.

Tom Garritano served as the project manager of the GRIDS Center, part of the NSF Middleware Initiative.

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