The Charity Engine and key 'open' grid computing resources

Have you check out the Charity Engine. Based on University of California (UC) Berkeley's famous free and open source BOINC software, the Charity Engine grid is hired to science and industry as the equivalent of a super-cheap 'supercomputer'. Charity Engine takes enormous, expensive computing jobs and chops them into thousands of small pieces, each simple enough for a home PC to work on as a background task. Once each PC has finished its part of the puzzle, it sends back the correct answer and earns some money for charity. The Charity Engine grid was created to enable millions of home PCs running their app to raise millions of dollars for the best possible causes, all thanks to spare computing power that nobody is using anyway.  Free to download, Charity Engine is available now to run on a PC or Mac. This is just one of many innovative ways 'grid computing' is being used today.

Grid computing provides the ability to perform higher throughput computing by taking advantage of many networked computers to form the equivalent of a virtual 'super computer'. Grid computing utilizes the unused capacity of many separate computers connected by a network to solve large-scale computational problems. With grid computing, organizations can collaborate and pool both internal and trusted external computer resources to tackle projects that require an extremely large capacity of computing power.

There are now hundreds of notable grid computing projects within the bioinformatics and healthcare arenas that you ought to check out. The following are links to selected examples of just a few of them:

BIRN Cardiovascular Research Grid
Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid
Health Grid Projects          
Virolab Grid

* Take a few minutes and watch these short videos on selected grid computing projects, i.e. BioGrid Australia; HealthGrid; TeraGrid; and World Community Grid

It's interesting to note that many of today's grid computing projects are built upon 'open source' software and technology. The following are some selected examples of these 'grid computing' and related 'cloud computing' tools:

Globus Toolkit
GridBus Middleware
Open Grid Engine

If you want to learn more about grid computing, the following are links to web sites of some key organizations focused on grid technologies, solutions, and activities:

Globus Alliance         
Open Science Grid
World Community Grid

Also, here are some of the key publications, journals, or news sites focused on grid computing that you might want to visit:

European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) Publications & Newsletter
International Journal of Grid & High Performance Computing
International Journal of Grid & Utility Computing
Journal of Grid Computing 
Primeur Magazine

Finally, the following are links to some of the major annual conferences or events related to grid computing that some of you might want to attend:

Globus World Conference
International Conference on Grid Computing
International Conference on Grid Computing & Applications
International Workshop on Grid Computing

Bottom line – there's an awful lot going on in the world of grid computing and the closely related field of cloud computing, especially in the field of healthcare.  Much of it involves the use of 'open source' software tools, access to 'open data', working with global 'open communities', and sharing findings in 'open access' publications.