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PCs powering Servers

Hi Folks,
I will be starting my MS in Computer Science
come Jan 2004 and am hoping to focus my thesis on desktop grid computing. I would really appreciate it if you could
offer some insight into what i'm going to say next.

The simplistic concept of desktop grid computing is

1. Break application/job into independent components

2. Send component to idle PC for processing

3. Return processed component to the application
server to be combined

As much as i have read, most of the work done in the
field of grid computing, conforms to the above listed
steps. Also, not every application job can be broken
into independent components hence the scope of impact
is limited (at this point) to high-level industries
such as bio-tech and finance.

I was thinking...why not do it the other way. As an
analogy, consider your monitor. How does it get power
to work..?...from the power socket. Current flows to
the socket because of a potential difference from
generator to power socket and your monitor powers up.

Why not idle PCs SENDING their idle CPU power to
servers. Benefits of this includes,

1. Applicable to any possible application because the
application never leaves its parent server. In this
way, every application is a candidate for support
by grids.

2. Moves the grid concept beyond high level industries
such as biotech, unis and finance to the man on
the street. Why..? Well, every company has spare
PCs just lying in the store doing nothing..just
imagine the Return of Investment (ROI) if we could
exploit these "lazy" PCs....the market potential

I'm really not sure at this point of time how to get
CPU cycles across like current but I was hoping you
could offer some advise. Has any research or word of
this reached you..? Would you be aware of any
individual or organization working on such an
implementation..? Have i entirely lost it..? : )
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2 Replies
I'm moving your topic into the HPC forum to see ifthe readers there have anyfeedback for you.

Lexi S.

IntelSoftware NetworkSupport

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Message Edited by on 12-02-2005 01:18 PM

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New Contributor I
khush792001 -
Even though this is almost 18 months too late, maybe it will spark some other discussion about grids and using idle PCs.
Your analogy of shifting processing cycles aselectricity flowing is flawed since processing power must be used at the point of creation. I can't cram any more cycles into a CPU than can be executed by the processor.
The idea of harnessing idle processors has been around for several years. There are many different systems for doing such things, but each involves exporting instructions and data to the external processor for execution. This can be as tightly coupled as creating a virtual cluster of desktop PCs or loosely coupled by sending complete jobs to processors and waiting for a result before sending another task.
One of the big problems with such wide-area distributed computing is the data being moved around. For LAN situations, the data may be located on some shared file server. For cases where you wish to harness processing power in different parts of the country, the problems that require such large-scale computing resources will likely have large-scale (100's of terabytes) data requirements. Thus, a more interesting problem would be how to schedule distributed computations in a network of PCs would be assigning tasks that involve the minimum amount of data movement. That could be a potentially valuable research project.
-- clay
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