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Big Top: Microsoft's Hush Hush Grid Computing Project

A while back, I blogged about Microsoft Research's whitepaper on grid computing.  Since then, there have been rumors of a big (and very top secret) grid computing project in the works.  Microsoft Watch, a think tank devoted to figuring out what Microsoft is up to, has an in depth article about the Big Top project.

Obviously, there's more than one grid computing initiative going on within Microsoft and, of course, there are a few initiatives outside the company, most notably Project AlchemiProject Alchemi is an initiative of the Australian academic community backed by Microsoft.

The project got a write up in eWeek and despite rumors of its demise, is still going on strong like Mister Cee. You can even play with your own private grid for free.  Windows-based grid computing projects are big deals, since it's mostly the Linux crowd that's been playing around with them.

If you're still wondering what all the fuss is, Grid Computing is likely to yield some very important leaps forward in intense computational computing.  A computing grid is basically when many computers join together to form one large massively parallel processing unit --just like Voltron.

The excitement is that grid computing could drastically reduce the cost of performing extremely complex mathematical computations, which would have implications for fields as diverse as quantum physics, scientific data analysis, weather modeling, and entertainment. 

Imagine being able to render your own movies and start a Pixar-like production company by linking a few computers together.  Are you excited yet?

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