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IBM shows off new grid apps

IBM shows off new grid apps

IBM on Friday is scheduled to make available early versions of three grid-based technologies intended to help corporate and third-party developers better manage grid-based resources as a way to solve large and compute-intensive problems.

Available on IBM's alphaWorks Web page, a site dedicated to showcasing emerging technologies, the products collectively give developers access to idle computing capacity, improve their productivity, and more smoothly transform business processes as a way to extract more value from IT investments.

"The idea behind making these still-emerging technologies available now is to get the market involved. It gives us a chance to get feedback from the market, which helps us shape these technologies. And it gives us a chance to gain acceptance in some key areas," said Amit Patel, emerging-technology strategist for alphaWorks.

The first technology, called ZetaGrid, helps developers that are strapped for compute power to access the free capacity of dozens of computers both local and remote. Company officials claim it is the first specification of a J2EE interface that helps to "split up" an application and send it to multiple sites within a grid environment. With the tool, programmers can work simultaneously on complex development projects or problem solve within an existing one, company officials said.

The technology is also meant to offer a more efficient infrastructure for protecting grid resources. IBM has already tested the technology in its Boeblingen labs to verify a mathematical computation across a grid of thousands of computers in a heterogeneous environment.

"Right now it is being used by almost 11,000 computers in 70 different countries that are trying to solve the Reyman Hypothesis, a very large and well-known math problem attempting to verify the zeroes of the zeta function," Patel said.

A second technology, the GFRM (Grid File Replication Manager), which improves on the existing open source-based Replica Location Service from Globus, is a Web-based tool for managing grid replicas. In working with dozens of development partners who are widely dispersed geographically, it is often necessary to create remote and read-only copies, or replicas, of files. Replication can be used to reduce the latency commonly associated with accessing files.

"This can make it easier to manage replicas of data on the grid. It also gives you an easier way to create and search through entries in the (Globus) Replica Location Service," said Patel.

The third technology is the DPPEJ (Distributed Parallel Programming Environment for Java), a set of tools for compute-intensive applications mainly in the fields of Bioinformatics as well as financial analytics, which often require the creation of markedly faster, distributed, and parallel applications.

"This (technology) introduced the concept of distributed threads so developers can concentrate their programming on applications that require these threads. It provides the infrastructure support for the distribution and execution of those threads as well as message passing and synchronization. Essentially, it addresses the issue of performance in a highly computational environment," Patel explained.

The new technologies will support the OGSA (Open Grid Services Architecture), which is a set of specifications and standards that serves as a common framework for building grid applications.

Developers wanting more technical information about ZetaGrid, GFRM, DPPEJ, or want to download them, can go to the alphaworks Web site at http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/.


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