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Keynote: Grids to Grow

CHICAGO Supercomm 2005 – Despite uncertainty about standards, grid computing will penetrate corporate data centers in the next two years, with a little open-source help, according to Ian Foster, associate director of the Argonne National Laboratory and professor of computer science at the University of Chicago.

Grid guru Foster used his keynote at the Supercomm show here to explain that grid technology is casting off its reputation as the preserve of universities and – ahem – government research labs. “I expect to see, over the next one to two years, the finalization of a core set of standards, but even, before that, large-scale commercial grid deployments,” he said.

Foster is involved in two major U.S. grid projects: the 10,000 CPU TeraGrid and the 4,000 CPU Open Science Grid. Apparently, corporate America's interest in these is growing. “Over the last three years, but especially over the last year, the commercial sector has been coming to talk to us about it,” he tells NDCF.

Certainly, some big-name enterprises, such as General Motors and Johnson & Johnson, have already tested the grid computing waters (see Software Licensing Gridlock). And a range of vendors have already jumped on the grid computing bandwagon (see Sun Offers Range of New Options and IBM Builds Grids for Auto Industry).

Foster sees more growth in the near term, starting with areas where grid has already established a toehold – financial services, manufacturing, and the pharmaceutical industry.

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