Friday, May 19, 2006


It's been my pleasure this week to attend GridAsia2006. Hosted by the National Grid Office in Singapore with plenty of support from the leading Grid vendors: Oracle and Platform in particular; the event has combined a meeting of CCGrid - the 2006 IEEE forum on cluster computing, GECON - a symposium focused on developing a market model for grid, ROCKS and a special meeting aimed at UK-Singapore collaboration in Science, focused on Grid Technologies. This last meeting was the icing on the cake of an interesting week for me. Yesterday, we were able to showcase the work of several of the UK eScience collaborative projects ranging from DAME/BROADEN from Rolls-Royce; White Rose Grid from York University; GOLD an ambitious plan to develop a virtual chemical engineering industry in the NorthEast of the UK centred around the work at Newcastle University and finally, the work in Cardiff University of Omer Rana, Deputy Director of the Welsh eScience Centre. Presentations from all are available at the GridAsia2006 website.

The Singapore Government is championing the use of Grid for three strategic industries:- Bio Technology; Digital Media and Aerospace, and the forces in the industry are marshalling their efforts around these themes led from the front by colleagues in the National Grid Office and Simon See of Sun Microsystems who leads an industrial research activity in Singapore based at NTU. The interest of the UK government is to broaden collaboration and leverage the experience and knowledge of the eScience programme in Singapore. Following the seminar, there were several lively discussions around possible areas of collaboration. Watch this space!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Grid Computing Now and Forever!

Hi I'm Ian Osborne and this is my personal log of experiences which I have while responsible for the implementation of a UK project to promote the use of grid computing technologies. The project, Grid Computing Now! (GCN!) is a government funded Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) with the goals of:-
  1. creating awareness in the target sectors;
  2. identifying obstacles and barriers to implementation;
  3. preparing UK public and private sectors for adopting grid computing technologies;
  4. leveraging the knowledge and experience gained in the UK eScience Programme.

The project started in February, 2005; was officially launched in July 2005 and our website was introduced in August 2005. We have a project team of 2 people based at Intellect, the UK Hi-Tech Trade Association, in Russell Square, London; and 2 more people based in Edinburgh at the National e-Science Centre, Edinburgh University. We also have a willing bunch of enthusiastic supporters from the UK Computing Industry; eScience community; commentators, investors and some genuinely experienced users in our project Advisory Council. A sister project is run by CNR Ltd, based in Bristol, and they provide support valuable support for the GCN! web-site and are focused on smaller businesses and the organisations which serve them around the nation.

As the project has developed we've come across a whole range of people with real experiences of Grid Computing in use, both from the academic community where it is big, and from the user community where it is growing fast in some sectors, established in others and unknown in some key places.

Our definition of Grid Computing Technologies is very broad, seeking to focus on the current industry themes of Virtualisation; Distributed job management; Service oriented architectures fo example. We run technical events to educate and inform, with a particular interest in "how to" rather than simply "what"! Our web-site provides an edited source of up to date news and a growing portfolio of user case studies written by our own in-house journalist.

You might be asking why? Well, it seems to us that we already have a lot of computing capability lying around, some worked hard - if not overstretched, but much of this under used and, frankly, wasted potential. This in spite of major challenges from parent organisations to IT to deliver more value! We believe that grid computing offers some clues as to how to both increase the value of existing investments and improve efficiency, and down stream to offer the opportunity to significantly add value through tying IT infrastructure to the organisations activities themselves.

How? Well check out our web-site for ideas, keep looking for posts to this blog and we'll see!