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Headlines Published on 30 May 2008

Title GridTalk spreads the word on European grid computing

The web changed our lives for good by enabling information-sharing over the Internet. Now we have grids, which will ultimately turn the global network of computers into one vast computational resource. Grid computing is already revolutionising the way data is analysed, stored and shared. Helping to take grid communications to the next level is GridTalk, a recently-started innovative project, which is co-funded by the European Commission under its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

The grid can share computing power over the Internet © Shutterstock
The grid can share computing power over the Internet
© Shutterstock

Grid computing applies the resources of many computers in a network to a single problem, employing software which can divide and portion out pieces of a programme to several thousand computers. It can be confined to a network of workstations within a company or it might involve the collaboration of several public or private organisations. Grid computing allows a more cost-effective use of computer resources. It is a way of solving problems collaboratively without having to use huge amounts of computing power.

The aim of GridTalk is to work together with Europe's e-infrastructure projects to produce articles and briefings which summarise policy reports and discussions involving key grid-related issues in clear, jargon-free language. These will be targeted at non-technical policy makers in government and industry as well as scientists and the general public.

GridTalk will also contribute to the rapidly growing online newsletter, International Science Grid This Week (iSGTW). The newsletter is read by more than 15 000 people every week, and has over 3 600 subscribers in 100 countries. iGTSW was first established as a joint project between Open Science Grid in the US and the Enabling Grid for E-SciencE (EGEE) project in Europe. GridTalk will enable iSGTW to cover a larger number of European grid projects and provide information and support for researchers working with grids.

EGEE brings together scientists and engineers from more than 240 institutions in 45 countries worldwide to provide a seamless Grid infrastructure for e-Science that is available to scientists 24 hours a day. It is currently the largest multi-disciplinary grid infrastructure in the world, and addresses a number of issues such as climate change.

GridTalk will also give a face-lift to the popular GridCafé website, keeping it at the cutting edge of grid dissemination. Developed by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), GridCafé hosts 'Gridcast', a forum through which scientists attending grid events can post blogs and podcasts about their experiences. The forum was created in 2003 to inform the public about grids and has been nominated for several international awards.

Not unlike grid computing itself, GridTalk combines the resources of several widely dispersed partners. GridTalk project manager, Sarah Pearce, says that this coordinated approach is crucial to the continuing success of European grid computing efforts. 'The impact of grids has rapidly expanded beyond that which can be disseminated by individual groups,' Dr Pearce underlines. 'Grid initiatives across Europe are contributing to new scientific results and changing the way science is done. The GridTalk team will coordinate the communication of these results, ensuring that grid-enabled scientific successes are reported widely in print and online.'

'Ordinary people are benefiting from grid-enabled discoveries in health, chemistry, biology and more. GridTalk will show this human face of grid computing. We’re going to put grid computing firmly in the spotlight, showcasing the behind-the-scenes computing that is making these new discoveries possible,' says Dr Pearce.

More information:

  • GridTalk
  • GridCafe

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