Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Grid Computing Competition from Grid Computing Now!

Cross-posted from The Grid Blog

DTI Knowledge Transfer Network Grid Computing Now! and the British Computer Society have announced a competition for innovative solutions to challenges of the 21st century using the capabilities of grid computing technologies.

See the competition site for details.

The Competition in Outline
The competition is to develop a short description of an application of Grid Computing Technologies to solve a unique problem facing society in the 21st Century. Each submission should provide a short overview of the problem to be solved, an analysis and a description of the potential solution. We believe that the emergence of grid computing provides a new level of capability in high performance distributed computing and thus we would expect the problem addressed to be beyond today’s available solutions, such as cluster computing or other more constrained computing configurations. The competition will be judged by an appointed panel of experts from industry and the fields of science, the environment, engineering, design and arts. Prizes will be awarded for submissions that show the most originality, creativity, clear benefits and a feasible implementation. We expect to be able to offer individuals prizes ranging from computer equipment and software packages as well as an Internship or work placement at Intellect. We will also award membership to the BCS for prize winners. Entrants should be aware that there is a possibility that the competition will attract coverage in the media. The event will be launched early in the spring of 2006 with the aim of accumulating submissions during the summer with a preliminary short list available to be judged in the early autumn. A Competition Final event will be held for the short-listed entrants at which the prizes will be awarded.

Grid Computing Technologies
We are taking a broad view of Grid Computing to encourage a wide range of possible solutions. The key properties of Grid Computing in our view are the virtualising of resources to enable the provision of a more substantial and flexible computing capability to address a problem. There are two basic approaches to Grid Computing relevant in this context. Either a large scale distributed heterogeneous computer system which appears to the user as one large computer or a distributed application which enables the user to obtain a wide deployment of a very large task, broken down into small tasks, which are themselves, distributed across a volunteer computer network. This latter approach is becoming popular in use today, and would not be a particularly innovative approach to solving a problem. To assist entrants without the benefit of an extensive computing background we would recommend the definitions and descriptions offered by the CERN Grid Café. See for a primer and explanation.

There will be three stages to the competition; all submissions will be via the Grid Computing Now! Website , entrants intellectual property rights will be preserved:

* Firstly, an initial competition entry form will be used for submissions of up to 500 words describing the problem and their approach to a solution. The submissions will be reviewed by the organising committee and a selection made to be invited to submit a more complete entry.
* Secondly, those submitting successful proposals from stage 1 (between 30 and 50) will be invited to submit a short written paper, 1000 words, developing their idea further, supported by a short presentation. These submissions will be judged by the appointed panel.
* Thirdly, those proposals judged to be of most interest (a maximum of 10) will be invited to present their proposal in a Competition Final event scheduled for late September. Each competitor will be allocated 20 minutes comprising 10 minutes presentation and 10 minutes questions and answers. Prizes will be awarded on the basis of originality; creativity clear benefits and feasibility.

There will be three prizes awarded:

* 1st Prize: An X-Box 360 with the offer of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard 10 CALs and Microsoft Compute Cluster Server for the prize winner’s employer/university. The winner will also be eligible to attend the Microsoft European Technology Conference held in Brussels and be offered a year’s free membership of the British Computer Society. The winner will also be eligible for an Internship placement with Intellect, the Hi-tech trade association in Summer 2007.
* 2nd Prize: A laptop computer; Opportunity to utilise the eScience National Grid Service for a number of hours to implement a prototype solution. This will be supported by technical advice from the National eScience Centre and National Grid Service teams. A free membership of the British Computer Society for one year.
* 3rd Prize: Office software Microsoft Visual Studio.NET Professional and Microsoft Office Professional and a free membership of the British Computer Society for one year.

All prize winners will have their entries featured in communication materials, on the Grid Computing Now! website and if the opportunity arises, in the press.

Competition Launch Plans and Timeline:

* The Competition will be launched in the 2nd week of May. This will be via the GCN!, Intellect, BCS and NeSC websites and a press release.
* Initial Entries will be accepted until the end of June.
* These entries will be assessed in the first two weeks of July and an initial short-list created of between 30 and 50 entries.
* These entrants will be encouraged to submit by early September and a selection of up to 10 entrants will be invited to appear at the Competition Final event in central London in front of the judges on September 28th at the BCS offices in Southampton Street.

Competition Website

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