Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The popularity of distributed systems

A Distributed System can be defined as one in which hardware and software components at networked computers communicate and coordinate their activity by sharing resources such as information, data, compute cycles, bandwidth and storage. Examples include the World Wide Web, Clusters, Mobile Computing, Grid Computing, and many others.

Historically, workstations and personal computing systems used to work individually solving smaller problems while supercomputers were used for complex problems. With the increase in the network speeds and storage density, coupled with the availability of high-end computers and communication equipments at reasonable prices, this trend has changed during the last few decades. It is now agreed upon that we are living in an exponential world with transistor count doubling every 18 months (Moore’s Law), storage density doubling every 12 months, and fiber optics speeds doubling every 9 months (see the figure below).

Moore’s Law vs. storage improvements vs. optical improvements. Graph from Scientific American (Jan-2001) by Cleo Vilett.

This shows that Network speeds will grow at double the rate of processor speed, thus the case for distributed computing becomes even stronger.
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Sunday, September 25, 2005

PAREGIN: Pakistan Research and Education Grid Initiative

MS Thesis Abstract

Ever since the off the shelf networked computers became popular, the interest of people in distributed systems is increasing. Many architectures, strategies and libraries were made. Grid Computing is one such emerging new paradigm for next-generation distributed computing. It enables the sharing, selection, and aggregation of geographically distributed heterogeneous resources.

A number of teams all over the world are working on various aspects of grid computing. This work is an effort to have a research and education grid in Pakistan considering its specific limitations and requirements. It studies the various implementation architectures of grids and based upon the results, proposes Pakistan Research and Education Grid Initiative (PAREGIN). PARAGIN is collaborative grid architecture suitable for Pakistan and provides guidelines for the middleware, network infrastructure and services useful for researchers, students and teachers. The work also includes cost and usability analysis of the services. Based upon the proposal, a prototype grid was implemented along with a smaller set of services.

See complete thesis here.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Grid Computing Weblog

This is the blog started on the basis of the work done as part of my MS Thesis Research. A lot of postings would come directly from the actual thesis while I will also be posting the notes from my research diary.

You can see the complete version of my thesis here.