ROWE, ROWE, ROWE Your GRID

<ed.note>I enjoy pelting John Larson and Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson of the "Work Sucks, How to Fix It" movement occasionally with my 4 cents (adjusting for inflation). This post is an edited version of a recent stream of consciousness email.

It occurs to me that there is a parallel IT movement to Results-Only Work Environment, cloud|grid computing.

While there is a bunch of hype about clouds and GRIDs now in the press, the reality that Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, etc. are pushing this strongly – and that programs like Berkeley’s Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) open source and volunteer distributed computing software have been adopted by the likes of IBM’s World Community Grid project indicates it’s a paradigm that is only going to grow. For example, I’m a WCG project volunteer – my screensaver time allows WCG on BOINC on my notebook to grind equations for projects like AfricanClimate@Home, Discovering Dengue Drugs – Together, Downs Syndrome Research, FightAIDS@Home, Help Conquer Cancer, Human Proteome Folding 2, Nutritious Rice for the World, etc.

All this to say that once a person gets it into there mind that a "data center" isn’t a place to which you have to drive — but something that can be distributed nearly everywhere — what’s the need to drive to some central point? While companies are now experimenting with the grids within "our network", as broadband (especially fiber to the home|farm|fridge) builds out C-Suites are going to be pressed to justify the real estate costs of maintaining cubevilles, let alone all the "green" problems a distributed digital enterprise can help solve.

FYI, the Compute with BOINC section of http://boinc.berkeley.edu/ reports:

Scientists: use BOINC to create a volunteer computing project, giving you the computing power of thousands of CPUs.

Universities: use BOINC to create a Virtual Campus Supercomputing Center.

Companies: use BOINC for desktop Grid computing.

Bolt: software for web-based education and training

Bossa: software for distributed thinking projects.

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From the WCG Newsletter: "Since World Community Grid’s launch in November 2004, more than 1 million devices have been registered. The computer power that our volunteer community has donated equals one PC running nonstop for more than 170,000 years.  Volunteers currently are donating
an average of 1,400 years of compute time per week toward humanitarian research!"

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Tangentially, I providenced|serendipped upon the Journal of E-Working this week.</ed.note>