June 5, 2006

A Tale of Two Continents, Pt. II

Derrick Harris

GRIDtoday editor Derrick Harris clarifies somewhat last week's comments about Europe's lead in Grid usage, and introduces this week's issue, which features two commentaries by authors with different views as to why Europe seems to have an edge in Grid computing.

Last week, I commented that Europe’s lead over the rest of the world, particularly North America, in Grid computing could be attributed in part to the continent’s cultural willingness to cooperate. Now, while I still believe this to be true, I don’t believe it is the only factor contributing to Europe’s advanced use of Grid technologies. It could be less of a factor than I hold it to be, or it could be more of factor … I don’t know. Deep down, though, perhaps only at a subconscious level, it does play a role.

My comments did spark a little discussion, however, and this week’s issue features two commentaries stemming from that statement. To start with, we have Globus Consortium president Greg Nawrocki weighing in on the issue. While he believes that cultural differences do play a role, he goes on to argue that incentives being offered by some European governments to adopt new technologies plays a role, as well.

Next, we have Raymond Turney, who used to work to NASA’s Information Power Grid project, opining on his time trying to make that grid work. In Turney’s opinion, a big reason for Europe’s lead is that many people in the U.S. IT community, like himself, had bad experiences with Grid in its infancy, and are still leery about giving it a try. Europe, on the other hand, got started with Grid later on, Turney argues, and therefore experienced a more mature technology that they were excited about working with further. His argument definitely holds water, and the first-hand account of working on a seminal Grid project also is interesting. While Turney’s account might seem rather negative, he told me that he does believe the IPG was a good idea. The problem was that by going first, the team working on that project made a lot of mistakes that, as a result of the groundbreaking nature of the project, the team didn’t know any better than to make.

And, while Memorial Day week here in the United States was pretty slow newswise, there are still some interesting announcements to check out, such as CERN tightening its LHC grid security and a rundown of the second Latin- American Grid Workshop.

Finally, be sure to read next week’s issue, as it will feature a Q&A with Tony Hey. Hey discusses his move to Microsoft, the recent GridWorld Japan event and Web services reconciliation, among other things.

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