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You are here : Home > New Economy > Technology

Expatriate Indian develops computing grid

Frederick Noronha (IANS)
Pune, May 31

Those who need to do some serious number crunching that their personal computer or even a more powerful computer cannot handle can turn to an Australia-based Indian expatriate for help.

Researcher Rajkumar Buyya, originally from Karnataka, has developed a grid of computers made up by linking a university supercomputer with a cluster of servers hundreds of km away and scattered workstations across the globe.

Grid computing tries to pull together large amounts of far-flung computing power to tackle complex applications.

The grid is coordinated by software that mediates different computer operating systems and manages tasks like scheduling and security to create sophisticated virtual computers that work like a team though they may be scattered across the world.

Buyya, an assistant professor at the University of Melbourne, told IANS: "I have developed a system that supports service-oriented worldwide computing. It allows the creation of an online computing marketplace. The system has been used for running applications such as drug design."

He was part of a group of researchers at Monash University in Australia and the European Council for Nuclear Research in Switzerland that proposed a scheme with the potential to increase the reach of grid computing by applying traditional economic models - ranging from barter to monopoly - to manage grid resource supply and demand.

Buyya, who used to work for the computer science department at Monash University, says these methods could facilitate a broad range of computing services applications.

For instance, they can be used in executing science, engineering, industrial and commercial applications such as drug design, automobile design, crash simulation, aerospace modelling, high-energy physics, astrophysics, earth modelling, data mining and financial modelling.

Though still mostly confined to researchers, Internet has given grid computing a boost. Peer-to-peer computing - this allows disparate users to dedicate portions of their computers to team up for cooperative processing via the Internet - is mostly attractive to consumers and businesses.

"Both models harness a potentially vast amount of computing power in the form of excess, spare or dedicated system resources from the entire range of computers spread out across the Internet," says a technical study.

Although peer-to-peer and grid computing are not new, there hasn't been an overarching scheme for handling the massive amount of bargaining and staging required to carry out such on-demand jobs with reliable levels of quality and pricing to match, Buyya says. That is what the team he is part of is trying to do now.

Their work would allow parties involved to agree on one price for quick delivery of services during times of peak demand and another for less urgent delivery.

Resource brokering and sharing tools - like those of the once-popular music-sharing site Napster - are expected to eventually handle the trade in access to computers, content, scientific and technical instruments, databases and software, Buyya says.

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