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e-Journal

 

Grid Computation: the Fastest Supercomputer in the World
(Released November 2006)

 
  by Chao-Hsu Yao  

Review

Key Citations

Web Sites

Glossary

Editor
 
Software, Security & the Future

Contents

Grid Computation Software

To perform grid computation for joined computers online through the internet, the software which supports grid computation framework must be installed on each computer inside the VO. The software not only handles information queries, storage management, and processing scheduling, but also does authentication and data encryption to ensure information security. Some famous software that supports grid computation is Java CoG Kit [4], UNICORE (UNiform Interface to COmputing REsources) [11], and IBM Batch-on-Grid [12]. Microsoft is also working on a new version of the Windows system that supports grid computation [13].
map of global connections
Grid computing worldwide

Security Problems

Authentication

Grid computation shares resources online through the internet, so anyone may access shared resources. Therefore, information security has been very important in the grid computation area. The basic idea of controlling access to shared resources is through authentication. The simplest authentication design is to set up a username and password for the user to join a VO. Over time, the authorization framework and architecture design have been popular research topics in grid computation to ensure better information security.
Cryptography
To prevent unwanted users from stealing information, encryption has been widely used for data transmission. A special cryptography can be designed for each VO to transfer data online. Even if information is stolen by unwanted users, they must have the cryptography scheme or key to decode the data in order to view it.
Hackers, Worms, and Viruses
A VO can have millions of computers running parallel processes to carry out high performance computation. Therefore, it is likely that some of them were infected by computer viruses and worms, or hacked by intruders. The VO may not be damaged if only some of the computers were hacked and part of the information was stolen. However, the computer may be infected with an unwanted program (computer virus) that spreads to infect other computers inside the VO, and finally causes all of the information to be lost. It may be a good idea for all users inside a VO to perform a virus scan before receiving information from other users. Even if the VO has a very safe authentication process, however, the virus can still find a security hole to get in, or spread by e-mail and message passing software like ICQ or MSN.

Some computer worms, which may not be designed for stealing information, can also infect the VO, increase the CPU load, and hinder performance.

Future work

Grid computation is a proven to an expensive supercomputer for doing parallel computation. Though grid computation is still in the development stage, and most projects are still voluntary and experimental, it has developed very quickly and more and more scientists have worked hard to improve its efficiency and security. The most powerful way to use grid computation would be to use all the computers in the world online. There are millions of computers online in the world everyday, some of which may just stay idle, while others are busy running programs 24 hours per day. If we can share all of the computer resources worldwide to perform some complicated computation, we will save a tremendous amount of money and time. However, with more and more computers involved in grid computation, the security problems will become increasingly serious. How to design the largest global virtual environment for grid computation is the most important issue when trying to employ all possible computer resources on earth.

© Copyright 2006, All Rights Reserved, CSA

List of Visuals

References

  1. International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium. (2004).

  2. Human Genome Project Information, http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/home.shtml

  3. UNCW Grid Computing Project, http://www.gridnexus.org/web/index0.php?session=business

  4. Cog Kit Home Page, http://www.globus.org/cog/

  5. World Community Grid - Home, http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/

  6. Dan Kusnetzky, Carl W. Olofson, Oracle 10g: Putting Grids to Work

  7. Gregor von Laszewski, Grid Computing: Enabling a vision for collaborative research

  8. GRIDtoday: Sun Gives Equipment to SETI's Grid Computing Project, http://www.gridtoday.com/04/0112/102491.html

  9. The Human Proteome Folding Project, http://www.grid.org/projects/hpf/

  10. Human Proteome Folding Project Overview, http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/projects_showcase/archives/viewHpf
    Overview.do

  11. UNICORE, http://www.unicore.org/unicore.htm

  12. New IBM Software Brings Autonomic Computing to Grids, http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/19636.wss

  13. Darryl K, Taft, Microsoft Brings .Net to Grid Computing, http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,4149,39279,00.asp