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IBM, Harvard team to develop 'Crimson Grid'

The computing grid will eventually be available to other universities in the region

By Nancy Weil
December 17, 2003 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Harvard University and IBM are developing a universitywide computing grid for student and faculty research, data sharing and collaboration in life sciences, engineering and applied sciences, they announced today.
The "Crimson Grid" will be based on Open Grid Services Architecture and is expected to eventually be available to other universities in the region, said Robert Eades, worldwide executive for academics, government and health in IBM's life sciences division. The grid also will be part of a Massachusetts biotechnology grid.
"I am just excited beyond words," said Jayanta Sircar, CIO and IT director at Harvard's Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences. His division is where the grid will start, and then it will be expanded to the rest of the university and beyond. The grid is a milestone in Sircar's IT career and has the potential to be a transformative step in how science and engineering tools and technologies are developed because of Harvard's reach and importance in those fields, he said.
Harvard and IBM will develop and pretest tools and protocols for the grid. Harvard is receiving an IBM Shared University Research award as part of the initiative and will get eServer systems for a blade center that will power the grid. Harvard's Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences' IT group, along with IBM computer scientists, will implement and build the Grid Reference System Implementation, which is the grid's core development environment. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard University Information Systems will provide the network backbone service.
The reference implementation can then be shared with other universities, agencies or groups that are interested in developing a grid but that perhaps lack the time or expertise to develop such a computing system, Eades said.
"The really key benefit [of the project] is going to be having an easy-to-use, easy-to-deploy grid reference implementation," he said. Often, customers will take such an implementation to develop a grid and then buy commercial products for use in the grid -- for life sciences, that could be relational database software, he said.
"A very, very early test [implementation] is already up and running," Sircar said. The grid will be "an evolving process" over the next year or so, he said.
"Developing the grid involves a lot of research, a lot of integration," he said. Integration of platforms, compilers, tools, resources and different nodes has yet to be accomplished. And that is just at Harvard, which has its main campus in Cambridge, Mass., plus offices and property all over the Boston area. Over time, the grid's reach will be expanded and could

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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