Baton Rouge, La. – Making use of emerging technology can seem like a daunting task, but through practical applications of this information, more people will be able to take advantage of the data available through innovations in computer science.
This was one of the topics addressed in “Scaling the e-Science Impact,” a distinguished lecture that Ian Foster gave at Louisiana State University (LSU) on Monday, Nov. 27.
Foster, who is a computer sciences professor at University of Chicago and director of the Computation Institute at Argonne National Laboratory, was invited to speak by the LSU Center for Computation & Technology (CCT).
CCT Director Ed Seidel introduced Foster, known as the “Father of Grid Computing” for his research that created a collection of software tools called the Globus Toolkit, the “de-facto-standard” component to build computational grids. Grid computing connects many computers together through a network for increased computational power to solve large-scale problems quickly and with greater accuracy than would be possible with a single computer.
The Globus Toolkit 4.0 and service-oriented grid computing were two areas Foster addressed in his talk, which looked at how these and other forms of supercomputing could benefit more people. “One of the areas I am interested in right now is how to take supercomputing, which currently is only used by a few dozen people, and develop applications that benefit everyone,” Foster said.
These applications, which Foster described as “service-oriented science,” will accelerate the pace of enquiries, introduce new notions and move into a new field of science, he said. Foster referred this new way of science as “Science 2.0.”
Some examples Foster gave of good applications of grid computing technology were caBIG, the Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid, which is run through the National Cancer Institute and allows a network of 60 member treatment centers to share data, and virtual observatories, which take repeated astronomical observations and allow multiple users to study them, rather than each individual observatory collecting data through a telescope to be shared and stored only at that facility.
Foster also discussed the National Science Foundation’s grant to support further research and development of the Globus Toolkit. Through work under this grant, researchers are evolving and enhancing the functionality of grid computing software, as well as decreasing the cost and complexity of deploying, operating and using it. By simplifying the process, more people will begin to use grid computing.
For more information on upcoming lectures at the LSU Center for Computation & Technology, visit http://www.cct.lsu.edu