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|'the Grid' Could Make The Internet Obsolete by webizone: 8:10pm On Nov 30, 2012|
The Internet could soon be made obsolete. The
scientists who pioneered it have now built a
lightning-fast replacement capable of
downloading entire feature films within seconds.
At speeds about 10,000 times faster than a typical
broadband connection, “the grid” will be able to
send the entire Rolling Stones back catalogue
from Britain to Japan in less than two seconds.
The latest spin-off from Cern, the particle physics
centre that created the web, the grid could also
provide the kind of power needed to transmit
holographic images; allow instant online gaming
with hundreds of thousands of players; and offer
high-definition video telephony for the price of a
David Britton, professor of physics at Glasgow
University and a leading figure in the grid project,
believes grid technologies could “revolutionise”
society. “With this kind of computing power,
future generations will have the ability to
collaborate and communicate in ways older
people like me cannot even imagine,” he said.
The power of the grid will become apparent this
summer after what scientists at Cern have
termed their “red button” day - the switching-on
of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the new
particle accelerator built to probe the origin of the
universe. The grid will be activated at the same
time to capture the data it generates.
Cern, based near Geneva, started the grid
computing project seven years ago when
researchers realised the LHC would generate
annual data equivalent to 56m CDs - enough to
make a stack 40 miles high.
This meant that scientists at Cern - where Sir Tim
Berners-Lee invented the web in 1989 - would no
longer be able to use his creation for fear of
causing a global collapse.
This is because the Internet has evolved by
linking together a hotchpotch of cables and
routing equipment, much of which was originally
designed for telephone calls and therefore lacks
the capacity for high-speed data transmission.
By contrast, the grid has been built with dedicated
fibre optic cables and modern routing centres,
meaning there are no outdated components to
slow the deluge of data. The 55,000 servers
already installed are expected to rise to 200,000
within the next two years.
Professor Tony Doyle, technical director of the
grid project, said: “We need so much processing
power, there would even be an issue about
getting enough electricity to run the computers if
they were all at Cern. The only answer was a
new network powerful enough to send the data
instantly to research centres in other countries.”
That network, in effect a parallel Internet, is now
built, using fibre optic cables that run from Cern
to 11 centres in the United States, Canada, the Far
East, Europe and around the world.
One terminates at the Rutherford Appleton
laboratory at Harwell in Oxfordshire.
From each centre, further connections radiate out
to a host of other research institutions using
existing high-speed academic networks.
It means Britain alone has 8,000 servers on the
grid system – so that any student or academic
will theoretically be able to hook up to the grid
rather than the internet from this autumn.
Ian Bird, project leader for Cern’s high-speed
computing project, said grid technology could
make the internet so fast that people would stop
using desktop computers to store information
and entrust it all to the internet.
“It will lead to what’s known as cloud computing,
where people keep all their information online and
access it from anywhere,” he said.
Computers on the grid can also transmit data at
lightning speed. This will allow researchers facing
heavy processing tasks to call on the assistance
of thousands of other computers around the
world. The aim is to eliminate the dreaded “frozen
screen” experienced by internet users who ask
their machine to handle too much information.
The real goal of the grid is, however, to work
with the LHC in tracking down nature’s most
elusive particle, the Higgs boson. Predicted in
theory but never yet found, the Higgs is
supposed to be what gives matter mass.
The LHC has been designed to hunt out this
particle - but even at optimum performance it will
generate only a few thousand of the particles a
year. Analysing the mountain of data will be such
a large task that it will keep even the grid’s huge
capacity busy for years to come.
Although the grid itself is unlikely to be directly
available to domestic internet users, many
telecoms providers and businesses are already
introducing its pioneering technologies. One of
the most potent is so-called dynamic switching,
which creates a dedicated channel for internet
users trying to download large volumes of data
such as films. In theory this would give a
standard desktop computer the ability to
download a movie in five seconds rather than the
current three hours or so.
Additionally, the grid is being made available to
dozens of other academic researchers including
astronomers and molecular biologists.
It has already been used to help design new
drugs against malaria, the mosquito-borne
disease that kills 1m people worldwide each year.
Researchers used the grid to analyse 140m
compounds - a task that would have taken a
standard internet-linked PC 420 years.
“Projects like the grid will bring huge changes in
business and society as well as science,” Doyle
“Holographic video conferencing is not that far
away. Online gaming could evolve to include
many thousands of people, and social
networking could become the main way we
“The history of the internet shows you cannot
predict its real impacts but we know they will be
|Re: 'the Grid' Could Make The Internet Obsolete by webizone: 8:22pm On Nov 30, 2012|
The upside: we could all become wealthier in nanoseconds or less!
The downside: our silly and incompetent 'the Grid' service providers with their greedy charges
|Re: 'the Grid' Could Make The Internet Obsolete by Obinnau(m): 9:30pm On Nov 30, 2012|
honestly i dont know where the world is heading to!
|Re: 'the Grid' Could Make The Internet Obsolete by webizone: 6:30am On Dec 01, 2012|
Obinnau: honestly i dont know where the world is heading to!
You mean heading to... positively or negatively?
|Re: 'the Grid' Could Make The Internet Obsolete by Obinnau(m): 8:29am On Dec 01, 2012|
webizone:both! It has cons and pros!
|Re: 'the Grid' Could Make The Internet Obsolete by webizone: 1:42pm On Dec 01, 2012|
Obinnau: both! It has cons and pros!
Of course, name yours, especially the negatives.
|Re: 'the Grid' Could Make The Internet Obsolete by Obinnau(m): 4:12pm On Dec 01, 2012|
webizone:well my comment might be weird!
|Re: 'the Grid' Could Make The Internet Obsolete by fellis(f): 9:00pm On Dec 01, 2012|
I never imagined that anything better than the internet would be invented.
I was actually wondering whether there could be some sort of improvement in the way data is stored in the present age, the use of flash drives and hard drives, CD ROMs etc has lasted too long and those things are able to store only a rather small amount of data when you take their sizes into consideration. I thought maybe a very tiny version of a hard drive would be invented; something with the size of maybe a memory card and the storage space of a typical HD.
Storing info online doesn't seem like a bad idea provided one is guaranteed they would be able to retrieve this info when it is needed.
I don't like the name 'GRID' though. Couldn't they have thought up something fancier?
|Re: 'the Grid' Could Make The Internet Obsolete by webizone: 7:13am On Dec 02, 2012|
fellis: I never imagined that anything better than the internet would be invented.
Actually you thought along the same lines I did, but I don't think all my data would be online. The most important ones I would still have with me in my hard drive. I might as well duplicate it online but I shd have a solid security and hacking knowledge as backup.
|Re: 'the Grid' Could Make The Internet Obsolete by teribithia(m): 11:51am On Dec 14, 2012|
happy to see this , but we can not enjoy it in short times.
|Re: 'the Grid' Could Make The Internet Obsolete by dasdexter(m): 11:36am On Dec 19, 2012|
well d whole idea is cute,fast & brainy but i can't keep my important files online & our greedy isp providers will b happy to charge 10mb data 4 10k, what i really lyk is d fact dat i can dload a 15gb file in a minute, but i don't prefer a total cloud computing maybe partially but not totally, & d instant online gaming is cool another way to earn some cash while playing vgame
|Re: 'the Grid' Could Make The Internet Obsolete by dasdexter(m): 11:36am On Dec 19, 2012|
well d whole idea is cute,fast & brainy but i can't keep my important files online & our greedy isp providers will b happy to charge 10mb data 4 10k, what i really lyk is d fact dat i can dload a 15gb file in a minute, but i don't prefer a total cloud computing maybe partially but not totally
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