Grid computing is a model of distributed computing that uses geographically and administratively disparate resources. In grid computing, individual users can access computers and data transparently, without having to consider location, operating system, account administration, and other details. In grid computing, the details are abstracted, and the resources are virtualized.
Grid computing systems can be classified into two broad types. The first type are heavy-weight, feature-rich systems that tend to concern themselves primarily with providing access to large-scale, intra- and inter-institutional resources such as clusters or multiprocessors. Grid systems developed using the Globus Toolkit are examples of this class. The second general class of Grid computing systems is the Desktop Grid, in which cycles are scavenged from idle desktop computers. The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC), a descendant of the SETI@home project, is an example of middleware for public Desktop Grid computing, as it harnesses resources that exist outside of institutional control. We developed middleware that allows BOINC- and Globus-based Grid systems to inter-operate and thus provides a means for Globus-based computational Grids to incorporate a much greater range of resources (Myers et al. 2008). Additionally, by decreasing the startup cost for new Desktop Grid computing projects, it makes Desktop Grids a viable option for a broader range of projects, and provides to Desktop Grids features inherent in Globus (e.g., authentication, authorization, file transfer).
We have also developed the Grid Service Base Library (GSBL), a Java toolkit that aims to reduce the complexity of writing Grid services under the Globus Toolkit (Bazinet et al. 2007). GSBL provides base classes from which clients and services can extend; additionally, it provides features for executing and managing remote jobs and file transfers. As a complement to the GSBL library, the Grid Service Generator speeds the development of Grid services by automatically creating the skeleton files required by a GSBL service.
A more powerful expression of Grid services can be achieved through use of Semantic Web technology, and together with several colleagues we have done research on Semantic Web/Grid services (Lee et al. 2007), and automatic workflow composition (Hashmi et al. 2004).
John Fuetsch, PDI/DreamWorks
Nada Hashmi, College of Business Administration, Saudi Arabia
Jeffrey C. Huskamp, University of Maryland
Sung Lee, Fujitsu Laboratories of America, Inc.
Daniel S. Myers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Taowei David Wang, University of Maryland