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What is Grid Computing?

By Thursday Bram
Updated May 16, 2024
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Grid computing is the act of sharing tasks over multiple computers. Tasks can range from data storage to complex calculations and can be spread over large geographical distances. In some cases, computers within a grid are used normally and only act as part of the grid when they are not in use. These grids scavenge unused cycles on any computer that they can access, to complete given projects. SETI@home is perhaps one of the best-known grid computing projects, and a number of other organizations rely on volunteers offering to add their computers to a grid.

These computers join together to create a virtual supercomputer. Networked computers can work on the same problems, traditionally reserved for supercomputers, and yet this network of computers are more powerful than the super computers built in the seventies and eighties. Modern supercomputers are built on the principles of grid computing, incorporating many smaller computers into a larger whole.

The idea of grid computing originated with Ian Foster, Carl Kesselman and Steve Tuecke. They got together to develop a toolkit to handle computation management, data movement, storage management and other infrastructure that could handle large grids without restricting themselves to specific hardware and requirements. The technique is also exceptionally flexible.

Grid computing techniques can be used to create very different types of grids, adding flexibility as well as power by using the resources of multiple machines. An equipment grid will use a grid to control a piece of equipment, such as a telescope, as well as analyze the data that equipment collects. A data grid, however, will primarily manage large amounts of information, allowing users to share access.

Grid computing is similar to cluster computing, but there are a number of distinct differences. In a grid, there is no centralized management; computers in the grid are independently controlled, and can perform tasks unrelated to the grid at the operator's discretion. The computers in a grid are not required to have the same operating system or hardware. Grids are also usually loosely connected, often in a decentralized network, rather than contained in a single location, as computers in a cluster often are.

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Discussion Comments
By anon251209 — On Feb 29, 2012

Please give me more information about gird computing and also tell me what types of jobs are in grid computing.

By anon131332 — On Dec 02, 2010

what does grid computing actually mean?

By anon129064 — On Nov 22, 2010

Please in what course are cloud cluster and grid computing taught at the university and where can it be used

By anon110697 — On Sep 13, 2010

what all details need to be known by a student of this grid computing?

By anon109993 — On Sep 10, 2010

Difference between grid and cloud is nicely given.

By anon109184 — On Sep 06, 2010

what are some books for students on grid computing?

By anon106101 — On Aug 24, 2010

i would like to know more about grid computing?

By anon105380 — On Aug 20, 2010

You are so cool with your comment on grid computing because it matches almost what i need on my seminar topic. thanks.

By anon97775 — On Jul 21, 2010

good information. I would like to have a grid computing presentation.

By anon95935 — On Jul 14, 2010

I need more information on grid computing, and various levels of presenting a paper in it.

By anon94518 — On Jul 09, 2010

nice. I need more information about grid computing.

By ashwathykr — On Jul 01, 2010

thanks. I need more information about grid computing and how it happens if we have two or three computers, and what are the specifications needed. Can anyone help me?

By anon85090 — On May 18, 2010

nice. Please send me the powerpoint related to grid computing.

By anon75621 — On Apr 07, 2010

Please send me the powerpoint related to grid computing.

By anon73922 — On Mar 30, 2010

so how can I do it myself using two computers? What are the cables needed?

By anon38285 — On Jul 25, 2009

nice. good.

By anon34729 — On Jun 27, 2009

What are some books for students on the basics of grid computing?

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