Grid computing projects take place in several different forms. From distributed computing to parallel computing projects, the possibilities are virtually limitless. Understanding what the grid computing system is and what it is capable of is a central point of making the best use of grid computing's capabilities.
The advantage of using a distributed computing system such as those utilized by grid computing projects is the ability to quickly process data streams. By merging a system of administrative domains and nodes, a virtual supercomputer can be built to handle a wide variety of data processing tasks while maintaining the security of individual machines. This ability of the distributed system makes it an ideal candidate for many grid computing projects.
Common examples of grid computing projects are used every day by many people who never realize the scope of the system they are accessing. ATM banking, automated check-out counters, and other services which require a computer terminal to communicate with a central processing machine utilize grid computing services. While these services are used for very basic transactions, the range of the grid computing network extends much farther.
Peer to peer (P2P) networks are also based on grid computing projects. Each network user becomes a node in this parallel computing system. The nodes are able to communicate with a central processing machine on the administrative domain. This machine is responsible for directing searches and traffic to the appropriate nodes. Each machine remains secure because the communication takes place between the individual nodes and the central machine while the individual nodes remain isolated from the other nodes.
Another common use of grid computing projects is the empirical data processing system. Various colleges and research organizations have used the grid computing system to handle the task of processing huge amounts of scientific data to solve various questions. In some cases, the data has been used to predict earthquakes, storms, and other natural disasters. In other cases, the grid computing projects have even had extraterrestrial origins, searching for signs of life on distant planets or study data sent back from orbiting satellites.
While the limits of grid computing have yet to be discovered, there are many benefits gained on a daily basis from these distributed computing systems. With the availability of more and more parallel computing systems, further advances are continuously being made in the field. These advances may mean that the grid computing projects of the future may assist humankind in finding cures to dreaded diseases or solving ancient mysteries using the power of a virtual super computer.