The Grid Conquers All - How It Will Be Used
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Many more people besides scientists will be interested in the Grid's capabilities. Government institutions and military organizations are bound to want to take full advantage of the collective power of the world's most powerful computers. The U.S. military already spends most of its money on the most advanced technology. But perhaps its most apparent use would be in the medical field. Doctors would be able to combine medical databases with specialized instruments. The virtual environments and massive data access would also benefit those involved in education.
Even though a full scale Grid has yet to be achieved, there are already several "mini" Grids out there. From private to public, national to international, these Grids aim to cut out the middleman and, in a way, give each virtual community its own Internet. A virtual community, no matter how large, built to achieve a specific goal needs to be able to securely gain access to each other's data. A well run virtual community will need to be secure, flexible, and time limited.
One notable achievement made possible by the Grid is that it helped to design new drugs against malaria by analyzing over 140 million chemical compounds. This task would have taken a standard PC 420 years. Back in April 2006, it helped perform a similar task in the fight against H5N1 avian flu virus. Over 300,000 chemical compounds were analyzed in the search to find drug treatments that would inhibit the N1 enzyme. Thanks to the resource collaboration offered by the Grid, 100 years was shaved off this process.
I think you've pretty much gotten the gist of the Grid by now. Hopefully, you've been so intrigued that you'll start researching the subject on your own. I for one can't wait for this technology to become mainstream. I may even attempt my first legal download...maybe.
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