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Grid computing

This is the fashionable new term for a networking system once more commonly called distributed computing. The basic idea is that instead of running a program on one big computer, you run it on a lot of quite small computers connected through a network. An example is the SETI@Home project, in which spare time on thousands of PCs is borrowed using the Internet to analyse data from radio-astronomy signals with the aim of finding evidence of extraterrestrial life. A similar kind of project searching for very large prime numbers has found five new ones. The idea is attractive to large companies, which often have thousands of idle networked PCs. Various computer companies, such as IBM, are working towards commercialising what has now been renamed grid computing and a centre to develop the idea was opened in Edinburgh in April. The term comes from the electricity grid that connects producers with consumers.

The idea behind distributed or grid computing is to share computer applications and resources, such as processing power and storage, over the Internet.

Toronto Star, Feb. 2002

The grid computing concept enables us to use computing power and data storage as if they were some kind of utility like electricity, gas and water.

Jakarta Post, Apr. 2002

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 13 Jul. 2002

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-gri2.htm
Last modified: 13 July 2002.