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Towards a World Wide Grid? 105

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-world-government dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "In recent months, the concept of 'cloud computing' was all the buzz. European researchers think about another name, the World Wide Grid, which could run on top of the Internet. In an article to appear soon, ICT Results will report about the g-Eclipse project. As the scientists said, 'the g-Eclipse project aims to build an integrated workbench framework to access the power of existing Grid infrastructures. The framework will be built on top of the reliable eco-system of the Eclipse community to enable a sustainable development.' The project started in July 2006 and was successfully completed in June 2008 for a total cost of €2.5 million, including a EU contribution of €1.96 million."
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Towards a World Wide Grid?

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  • huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mrfriendly (536996)
    I'm a comp sci nerd, but I didn't get anything from the summary. I'm definately not going to read the article.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by penginkun (585807)

      I'm not sure how you failed to understand the summary. It was fully buzzword-compliant.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A website I've worked on, http://www.gridipedia.eu/ , might help with some of the buzzwords. It even has the (terribly titled) GridDic http://www.gridipedia.eu/grid-computing-glossary.html - a glossary of Grid terms.

    • Re:huh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by smallfries (601545) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:16AM (#25829563) Homepage

      I only got as far as:

      Roland Piquepaille writes:

      That was enough for me

      • Just for the record, he did go on to say "In recent months, the concept of 'cloud computing' was all the buzz. " .

        And he'd know, because 99% of buzzbombing is done by him.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Z00L00K (682162)

      A world wide grid makes me think about that old science fiction story where the grid finally is connected and the first question someone asks is:
      "Is there a God"

      And gets the answer:
      "Now there is"

      (Reservations for the accuracy in my quotes)

      Not that it's likely right now. But if there is a world-wide grid then there is in theory an awful lot of computing power available. It's interesting to see what can be done with such a solution.

    • by pimpimpim (811140)
      I encountered a few times in supercomputer seminars. Grids are mostly interesting for people developing grids. The idea is nice: you can have a binary everywhere within the part of the grid that you can access (read: some supercomputer within your network). In practice, you'll have to recompile the binary separately for each local cluster configuration anyway. In theory, there should be some program (java or whatever) that opens your access to the grid and from where you can start jobs and move data around.
    • by Migity (1199059)
      Are you supposed to read the summaries? I thought this was /.
  • Will this eventually be a browser style UNC activation or will we all move more to a google-sidebar sort of 'fing?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:15PM (#25828115)

    These Italian schemes are a threat to America and everything Americans hold dear: our children, our base-ball parks, and our Hot Dogs. I say that these "nets" should be banned from the American intern net for security and moral purposes.

  • by 14erCleaner (745600) <FourteenerCleaner@yahoo.com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:20PM (#25828147) Homepage Journal
    If you google "integrated workbench framework" (in quotes), all of the 250-something results seem to refer to this project.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by rfelsburg (1237090)
      Since it seems pretty clear the whole point of TFA was to draw attention to this project, kind of like free advertising I figure I'll just jump on the bandwagon.

      This random troll/advertisment brought to you by the Dangerologists [slashdot.org] makers of Lemonandkarl.com [slashdot.org]

      /randombuzzword Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net is the wave of the future
      • by Quantos (1327889)

        Since it seems pretty clear the whole point of TFA was to draw attention to this project, kind of like free advertising I figure I'll just jump on the bandwagon.

        Isn't everything on here free advertising? I get to see a lot of advertising without having to pay for it :)

        • One would think and yet my devious plan to attract to visitors to brilliance has failed.

          Now if only there was some way to force people to visit our brilliance [lemonandkarl.com], maybe I should talk to Microsoft, or various ISP's...they seem to know how to force interaction with public consent :-)

          -Rob
      • It seems I should learn how to use Slashdot's tagging system, failed by my own laziness...


        Free advertising away!

        This random troll/advertisment brought to you by the Dangerologists [dangerologists.com] makers of Lemonandkarl.com [lemonandkarl.com]

        /randombuzzword Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net is the wave of the future
    • Correction: there's now one that doesn't -- this one.
  • "World Wide Grid"? C'mon, we can do better than that. Cripes even GTE even managed to put some pizzaz with "Verizon".

    Hell, the damn Metasploit group should have patented the concept of "framework" so somebody could join my lawsuit over this blatant disregard for my patent on buzzwords(TM)...

    Ah, screw it, this will likely get bought by Google anyway...

  • howabout "Matrix" ? 8)

  • by dkegel (904729) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:32PM (#25828229) Homepage
    I am not a cloud expert, but: Anything with "grid" in it makes me think "designed by committee" and "sucks"... and the fact that the effort described in TFA was funded by the EU doesn't make me feel any better about it. Maybe it would make more sense to wait until something like Hadoop takes over the world, then just standardize existing practice. (Apologies to my friends in the grid world.)
    • The article didn't exactly sell me either. The signal to noise ratio was pretty outrageous. Sort of read like a pamphlet on buzzwords.
    • by scheme (19778) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:13PM (#25828521)

      Anything with "grid" in it makes me think "designed by committee" and "sucks"... and the fact that the effort described in TFA was funded by the EU doesn't make me feel any better about it. Maybe it would make more sense to wait until something like Hadoop takes over the world, then just standardize existing practice.

      Hadoop doesn't work well for quite a few workloads like those handled by seti@home or boinc. Grids like TeraGrid, OSG, and EGEE are certainly working right now and doing real significant amounts of real work.

      Yes, quite a bit of these grids are designed by committee but it's something that needs to be done in order to let people drop jobs onto a random cluster and expect it to work.

      E.g. suppose you send a job to a cluster, how do you where your data and program will be, what sort of execution limits are there (can your job run for 4 hours,10 hours, 24, more?), which directories are locally mounted and available for holding temporary data, where and how do you transfer your 80GB of data, etc. All of these info needs to be advertised in a easily parsed format otherwise the grid becomes useless.

    • by jd (1658)
      Some grid software is heavy - Globus could do with being ripped into sensible-sized modules - but the notion of a "Grid" is very simple. You have software where components don't care where other components are located. The Service Location Protocol, Zeroconf, RPC w/ Mobile IP - these are all ways of providing lightweight grids. MOSIX over a wide-area network would be a Grid of sorts. None of these are designed by committee. Now, some Grid systems are. The aforementioned Globus being an example. As committee
    • "but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order ... what HAVE the Romans ever done for US?"

      With all due respect, either help get us off the grid or stop bitching about it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>and the fact that the effort described in TFA was funded by the EU doesn't make me feel any better about it.

      This is hardly new stuff. The term Grid was coined in... hang on, lemme check my Grid textbook from 1999, it's holding up my Linux monitor... well, hmm, it doesn't say when it was coined, but I found a reference from at least 1997. In any event, instrumentation of Grids has been one of the four major areas in the field for a long time. When I was at the San Diego Supercomputer Center as a grad

      • When I was at the San Diego Supercomputer Center as a grad student

        Were you a grid grad? And were you happy?

        • by ShakaUVM (157947)

          >>Were you a grid grad? And were you happy?

          Heh, I was a HPC grad student, but I worked in Fran Berman's lab for a while, which revolved around Grid computing. A great group of people to hang out with. She's head of the supercomputer center now, I think. It's an interesting field, but not exactly my cup of tea.

    • by samj (115984) *

      I am not a cloud expert, but:

      Anything with "grid" in it makes me think "designed by committee" and "sucks"...

      I am a cloud expert, and I tend to agree with you.

      Sam

    • "The Grid" is to be used to analyze data from the LHC. Or in other words, you have some of the brightest scientists, mathematicians and computer scientists in the world involved with this project with high stakes in it. To say you don't trust it because it was funded by the EU is a bit like saying you don't trust NASA to write code for a robot because it was funded by the white house.

      • by dkegel (904729)

        I suppose I'm just jealous that their pet project got EU funding and mine didn't :-)

        (Incidentally, I'm in a club with the president of the Open Grid Forum, and every so often I kid him about the state of grid software. I'm also the kind of guy who likes cars with no power anything, programming in C, and vi. I am *such* a luddite. Hence my preference for simple systems like Hadoop.)

  • ... to find it ironic that the will be a world wide "cloud" grid. And yet the thing that gave it the name i.e. the power grid is anything but world wide - barely continent wide with infrastructure taxed to the breaking point.

    • We really could use a world wide grid, one that uses HVDC to connect suppliers of electric power to the users across large distances. This would make intermittent power sources such as wind much more useful.

      Trying to use this term for a network is just plain annoying.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:50PM (#25828347)

    This will not work for most consumer applications. You want to play a video game -- you can't 'outsource' that processing to a grid because of latency -- in the time it takes to submit the raw data and get a result back, your system could have done it locally. It might work for complex photoshop filtering where the user might have to wait a few seconds to a minute. It would certainly be nice for transcoding video. In short, "grid" computing is good for non-interactive (batch) tasks. Most consumers have little need of this. It's far more useful for commercial enterprise.

    Not only is there a latency issue, but there's a bandwidth issue -- a really big one. Very few people have a fiber link to the internet and unlimited bandwidth. And there's a lot of businesses out there that want to have it stay that way. Comcast comes to mind as internet equivalent of OPEC -- except instead of barrels we've got gigabytes. It's an artificial market, but until the infrastructure is radically modified, grid computing is only going to be happening between large data centers made for and run by commercial business. And by the time the bandwidth issue is "solved", grid computing might be meaningless because the hardware will be so much faster and storage space so much more plentiful that there's little justification for Joe Average.

    • by smallfries (601545) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:20AM (#25829583) Homepage

      Total lack of understanding indeed.

      It's almost as if there are applications outside the domain that you describe, for which this would be useful. And as if this is not being aimed at consumers at all.

      Tsk tsk.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bluie- (1172769)
      You're right that for an individual trying to do something that individuals usually do this would be pretty worthless. I don't really see how most commercial entities would benefit either. Where it can be extremely useful is in science, and math.

      Maybe I'm misunderstanding your point, but it seems to me that this could be useful for any job that can be broken into smaller parts. Maybe a task would create so many parts that a single computer would take years to complete them all. That's where I see gri
  • by Toe, The (545098) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:54PM (#25828377)

    Imagine a beowulf cluster of those.

    (Man, isn't everyone tired of that joke by now? Oh, you are? Sorry.)

    • Yes, Toe. Good call.

      Anyone for a grendel cluster of imaginary, EU-sponsored grids?

      I'm not a visionary in this space, by any means, but it seems that "cloud," "grid," and the like are being bantered around willy-nilly, like some sort of scientific Web 3.0 mantra that will propagate and solve all the problems that the physicists and mathematicians are encountering getting computer time.

      Now, that's not as cynical as it sounds. We've heard this stuff from a lot of very "credible" sources in the past, and even s

    • But can it run Linux?
    • by dkf (304284)

      Imagine a beowulf cluster of those.

      Meh. You put beowulf clusters inside grids, but you don't build beowulfs out of grids because the latency will totally slay you.

  • by actionbastard (1206160) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:17PM (#25828553)
    Could this be Web 3.0?
  • WTF, just WTF? (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by zappepcs (820751)

    This week the RIAA decided to sue Sourceforge. How is a world wide grid going to help anyone? Who is going to stand up and tell the **AA to fuckoffanddie. While this sounds like a good idea, there are many legal problems to work out as the RIAA have demonstrated this week.

    Even if they find a way to make grid computing attractive for many applications, who has responsibility? There are economics to think of etc. If money was no object, we could all travel to work in a limo. If traffic was no problem, we coul

  • After reading that article, I just totally filled up my Buzzword Bingo [wikipedia.org] card.

    Thanks, Roland!

  • How will grid computing be viable without depending on altruistic sharing of resources? Will the costs and benefits of grid computing outweigh the investment, coordination, and technical challenges? Don't worry about all of that... cloud, grid, framework, graphical interface, Eclipse. Oooooh, that sounds technical, here's your money.
    • by dargaud (518470)
      It's not necessarily altruistic. We host grid computers in our lab. Our researchers use them: instead of writing MPI code for a multicore/multiprocessor behemoth, they write grid code and run it on them. Then if they need more CPU power they can run it on a wider grid outside; or if we have available CPU space, we open to the outside and let other labs run on our CPUs. And indeed we cannot get financing anymore to purchase hardware for specific CPU-intensive research projects. It all get pooled into the gri
  • by burgundysizzle (1192593) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:53PM (#25828749)

    From the article:

    Where the internet is a communications channel between computers, the grid goes beyond this by not just using the internet for communications but also as a means of sharing computing resources. Every computer and user can access and make use of the combined resources of the grid.

    And just how long will it be before someone decides to create a WWG application that uses it as one vast storage pool of copyrighted material with distributed indexing of the contents and the RIAA, MPAA, ... of the world sue the whole thing into non-existance or buy laws to make it a criminal offence to run it?

    Structured correctly you wouldn't know who was adding to it or downloading data from it. After all a download would be just be a request to replicate a bit more data making a vastly distributed virtual filesystem a bit more redundant. You may not even be able to tell if it was someone making a request to make a local copy or the software automatically increasing storage redundancy of static data (assuming that there's no logging).

    • Why would you copy anything? If there's a film you want to watch on the grid, just watch it. An application? Just run it. If it's not fast enough to do that, there's not much point to it.
    • by gizit (1411887)

      And just how long will it be before someone decides to create a WWG application that uses it as one vast storage pool of copyrighted material with distributed indexing of the contents and the RIAA, MPAA, ... of the world sue the whole thing into non-existance or buy laws to make it a criminal offence to run it?

      Not long: http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/projects/prism/technology.shtml [bbc.co.uk]

      Structured correctly you wouldn't know who was adding to it or downloading data from it. After all a download would be just be a request to replicate a bit more data making a vastly distributed virtual filesystem a bit more redundant. You may not even be able to tell if it was someone making a request to make a local copy or the software automatically increasing storage redundancy of static data (assuming that there's no logging).

      Quite the opposite: http://www.globus.org/toolkit/docs/latest-stable/security/key/#security-key-mutualauthentication [globus.org]

  • Imagine the amount of SPAM this will pump out after it gets hit with a worm....

  • Not enough buzzwords. We need to lay a mesh on top of that and then a fabric, then a matrix and so on and so forth. Collectively they'll be referred to as the WWM or World Wide Mess. You heard it here first.

  • by Brett Howard (1411411) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @01:28AM (#25829371)
    Now granted its a really cool idea and its even quite handy for organizations who need more power. There have been times when I'm sitting at work running an FPGA simulation and I click the go button and go for a walk.

    At home reading some news doing some simple development and hell even compiling a new kernel here and there I'm generally happy with the speed of my laptop. Hell I'm even contemplating giving up some speed in exchange for portability so long as I don't have to skimp on resolution.

    Much of the world is already in a power crunch. Not only a power crunch but a fuel crunch in general. So when we decide that gas is too expensive and we all start plugging our cars into the grid the problem gets even worse. Can you imagine if ALL of the world's computers hit 100% usage all the time so they could constantly be servicing who ever needed resources at the moment?

    Laptop's probably wouldn't want to opt into this network for the huge hit they'd take in battery life. Not to mention the increased bandwidth requirements needed for what most users consider background tasks.
  • Does this mean that Eclipse will now fail when the network is down? Or, does it mean that Eclipse will have to check in with nodes on the network before it can start properly... actually... I can kind of see the benefit in this. Bear with me for a minute here. If we can get the next rev of Eclipse to start up sooo.... slooowly... that they can't even test it before most of us retire, then we can just forget about the next rev of Eclipse. Why, if this technology is integrated into current installs via au

  • I thought gridders finally got tired of banging their heads against the facts of latency and bandwidth. well, at least people usually talk about cloud in the same breath as SOA - that is, incredibly loosely coupled, not anything at all like clustering.

    ironically, as individual computers get faster, it becomes less and less attractive to do grids, since during the 10ms it takes to talk to even a nearby city, an entry-level server could have computed over a gigaflop. eventually, it doesn't make sense to eve

  • Didn't McColo just successfully migrated a complete world wide grid within 12hours? May be these researchers should just contract the project out to them.

  • 2.5 million euros of taxpayer money wasted on adding a bunch of little extensions to the Eclipse [eclipse.org] development environment:

    Screenshots [geclipse.org]

    As one of their two demos [geclipse.org], they show how you can use the GUI to add an Amazon EC2 instance "in only five minutes" -- as opposed to typing one (1) command [amazonwebservices.com] or using Amazon's own ElasticFox [sourceforge.net].

    • by jlar (584848)

      As an experienced (scientific) participant in a great deal of EU projects I can assure you that this project is dead on arrival.

      The EU commision has embarked on a path of extensive central planning and increased bureaucratic and political control of the projects that it funds. The reason is simple. Research is not the primary reason for funding research projects in the EU. In combination with a strong level of support for state subsidies to industry and general socialist practices this leads to a predictabl

  • The Earth is becoming one giant computer.

    • If douglas adams were right, Earth would be, by now and since *ever*, a computer... it wouldn't need to become one.

      Think about it.
      • by Peet42 (904274)

        The Earth was designed to calculate the ultimate question of Life, the Universe and Everything by following the evolution of life upon it; this is merely the final phase.

        • So, does this means all those who foretold the end of the world in 2012 were, in fact, foretelling the construction of an intergalactic bypass?
          • by Peet42 (904274)

            Not necessarily all of them, but it's certainly possible that some of them were.

  • a grid atop a grid?

    tone it down roland, you're losing your audience.
  • US DoD already refers to the internet as The GIG (Global Information Grid)
    I suppose it gave the defense contractors a way to differentiate their PowerPoint slides between the govvie and civvie presentations.

    --MAB

  • So... how long will it be before someone uses the grid to distribute the computational load necessary to break some high-profile encryption?

    That being said, how will the computational traffic be managed? Will there be a "grid neutrality" debate in the near future?
  • I'm interested to know how anyone is planning on making an assurance or correctness argument for anything running on an opt-in grid. We worry enough about malicious agents corrupting data on our own systems - it seems to me that international scale information warfare could have a field day with this.

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