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JACOBS SCHOOL PROFESSORS CONTRIBUTE TO NEW EDITION OF THE GRID

12.12.2003 – Three members of the Jacobs School faculty have authored large parts of a “blueprint for a new computing infrastructure.” That is the subtitle of The Grid 2 , the second edition of a book that first appeared in 1998 and helped usher the expression ‘Grid computing' into the lexicon. The book's editors -- Ian Foster, of Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago, and Carl Kesselman, Information Sciences Institute, USC – launched the book at Supercomputing 2003 in Phoenix, AZ, in late November.

Foster and Kesselman compare the likely impact of the Grid in providing access to computing and related services to that of pervasive access to the electric power grid, believing the Grid will have a similar transforming effect on human capabilities and society. Learning the lessons of how the electrical power infrastructure developed is explored in Chapter One, “Grids in Context,” written by CSE professor and Cal-(IT)² director Larry Smarr. He also explores “how diverse subgroups of our society would benefit from the Grid and how people would change their working environment as a result of the new enabling technologies.” Smarr argues that unlike traditional infrastructures, fast development of the Grid will require stimulating “the use of the Grid by applications researchers, drawn from both computational science and experimental and observational science, as well as educators and visionary corporations.”

Chapter Two was co-authored by CSE professor Fran Berman, director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC). Berman and her co-author, British e-Science pioneer Tony Hey, discuss “The Scientific Imperative,” and review some of the novel scientific problem-solving methodologies that “make the large-scale development, deployment and application of the Grid critical for future science.”

CSE professor Andrew Chien, who holds the SAIC Chair, contributed two chapters. “Massively Distributed Computing” focuses on what Chien calls “desktop Grids.” The “systems can aggregate thousands to tens of thousands of machines even within a single company,” writes Chien. “The strategy involves exploiting the availability of idle desktop workstations or PCs – often idle as much as 95% at night and 85% during the day.” He details the use of a desktop Grid in virtual screening – the testing of hundreds of thousands to millions of candidate drug molecules to see whether they block the activity of a protein.

Chien is also the author of a chapter on “Computing Elements” (Chapter 28). He explains the characteristics of computing, storage, communication and other basic element with respect to “both current and expected future capabilities.” Chien also discusses the role of reliable clusters that can “provide computational resources with extremely low probability of service interruption and data loss.”

The subject of medical data federation is addressed in a chapter on the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN), which is based at UCSD and led by Mark Ellisman, an adjunct professor in the Bioengineering department. Ellisman, who is also a professor of neuroscience in UCSD's School of Medicine, co-authored the chapter with Steve Peltier, executive director of the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR). They predict that the “BIRN Grid architecture will transition toward a set of BIRN Grid Services compliant with the Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSA), so that BIRN developers are freed from the many security and management issues resolved within OGSA standards.”

Also contributing to the 748-page tome: SDSC researcher Henri Casanova, who co-authored a chapter on “Application-Level Tools.”

The Grid 2 , published by Elsevier and Morgan Freeman, is designed to by used by “the practicing professional or as a text for a senior undergraduate- or graduate-level course in advanced networking, distributed computing, or Grids.” Concludes CSE's Smarr: "This book arrives at a critical juncture, as Science is transforming to e-Science through the medium of the Grid."

Related Link

   The Grid 2 Website: www.mkp.com/grid2

 

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