The Grid Conquers All - What It Can Do
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By the time the Grid becomes mainstream, you'll wonder how you ever survived with something so primitive as the web. For one thing, the Internet will become so fast that people will no longer need to store information on their desktop computers. All data will be stored on the Internet, which is similar to what cloud computing already offers - a way to keep your information online and be able to access it from anywhere.
Some telecom companies are already unveiling new Grid-based technologies, such as dynamic switching, which creates a dedicated channel for users trying to download large amounts of data. Under this concept, a typical movie would only take around five seconds to download, as opposed to the hours on end it takes now. Full-on Grid integration, however, isn't expect for several years.
For now, its main purpose is to help scientists collect the huge volumes of data produced by the LHC. The data will come as it tries to track down the Higgs boson, nature's only particle yet to be studied. It is said to be what gives matter mass. If you ask me, something as elusive as this is a bit shady; better find a way to destroy it just to be safe.
All kidding aside, the Grid was made for science, the rest of us will just have to wait. The problems these scientists have to solve are impossible to perform on one set of computers. Using the Grid, scientists will be able to split each calculation into a smaller set, with each one done by a different processor. It will also be able to make each calculation within the set independent of each other by using high-throughput applications. Not to mention the fact that each calculation can be allocated over many different clusters (supercomputers). This is called high-performance computing.
These "computer-centric" problems are just the beginning. And I've already mentioned the Grid's ability to collect, store, and analyze vast amounts of data. But by using open standards, the Grid will also be able to offer a virtual community where collaborative applications and projects are hashed out. Think of holographic video conferencing and online gaming able to include thousands of players at a time. Are you Facebook obsessed? Well, social networking could become our primary mode of communication.
To find out what the Grid will be used for, read the next section.
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