IBM expands grid computing effort

IBM Corp. has expanded its grid computing initiative beyond the academic and research communities, announcing 10 grid options aimed at aerospace, automotive, financial markets, government and life sciences.

IBM is working with grid middleware companies, Platform Computing Inc., based in Ontario, and DataSynapse Inc. in New York, both of which will help IBM with grid deployment, the company also announced Monday.

Grid computing uses a cluster of computers linked over the Internet as a way to provide computing power on demand, similar to the way utilities work. The idea is to save companies money by allowing them to tap computing power only when it's needed.

The grid options detailed Monday are focused on research and development, engineering and design, business analytics, enterprise optimization and government development, IBM said Monday.

These are the offerings announced by IBM:

-- Financial markets, with emphasis on business analytics and enterprise optimization -- IBM is offering the options of an Analytics Acceleration Grid, meant to speed trading analytics in the financial trading market and increase computational throughput, and an IT Optimization Grid, which will let customers use available and under utilized compute and storage resources.

-- Life sciences, with focus on research and development -- The grid options offered are the Analytics Acceleration Grid, which IBM said will dramatically increase the number of calculations processed and can speed the time to drug discovery, and the Information Accessibility Grid, which enables unified data access during querying of nonstandard data formats.

-- Automotive and aerospace, with the focus on engineering and design -- Grid options for these industries are the Engineering Design Grid, which lets companies make the best use of existing infrastructures, and the Design Collaboration Grid, which allows data sharing and distributed work flows among partners, speeding design processes.

-- Government, with a government development focus, is being offered an Information Access Grid, allowing maximum use of existing data resources providing identification of leads using data mining and associating diverse sources of information, as well as making data access simpler with a unified data and file interface.

The tenth offering is a customized Grid Innovation Workshop, which shows companies how they can use grid technologies.

The new grid options will incorporate the Open Grid Services Architecture and be supported by IBM Global Services, which assists IBM customers with grid implementation using both IBM and other hardware and software.

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