Feeds

Southampton Uni's computer whizzes develop 'mini' grid

A safe place for students to play

Mobile application security vulnerability report

In a bid to help its students explore the potential of grid computing, the University of Southampton's Computer Science department has developed what it calls a "lightweight grid". The system has been designed to allow students to experiment with grid technology without the complexity of inherent security concerns of the real thing.

Grid computing emerged as a way of bringing untapped computing resources to bear on computationally difficult problems - programs such as Seti@Home and the World Community Grid are probably two of the best known examples.

Scientists at Cern are also developing a huge computing grid to enable them to analysts data from their (currently under construction) Large Hadron Collider.

Dr. Stephen Crouch at the University of Southampton, says that the M-Grid provides a safe environment for students to become familiar with the principles of grid computing before moving on to a real system.

"It's a lightweight grid that is ideally suited to performing many small, short-lived computations," Dr. Crouch told us. "One of its major advantages is that it only requires an Apache Tomcat webserver to host the server coordinator node to distribute jobs."

"Jobs can be submitted via a web browser to the server, and because the execution nodes are also just web browsers, anyone volunteering to join the computational network need only direct their web browser to the server.

"A job is downloaded to a browser, where it runs within its security sandbox, and when complete, it uploads the results to the server. Because it only requires basic knowledge of the Apache Tomcat webserver to install and manage, unlike more heavyweight grids, its learning curve overhead is relatively small and it can be up and running in minutes" he said.

Although the application has been developed as a teaching tool, Dr. Crouch sees potential for it to be used in business as well.

"A possible application would be statistical analysis of many small datasets. Even small businesses have a number of PCs nowadays, and this system could harness this computational power when everyone has gone home, by running jobs that have been submitted during the day," he explained.

Although jobs have to be written in Java at the moment, Dr. Crouch says he and his team are working on ways to eliminate the need for any Java programming at all. ®

Read more about the system here

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
Seagate chances ARM with NAS boxes for the SOHO crowd
There's an Atom-powered offering, too
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.