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The Grid: Super-Fast Internet

By Vinay

Revolutions never cease to occur. Some revolutions transform the lives and some transgress the good. Political revolutions are difficult to predict and scientific revolutions are difficult to comprehend. Former decides the destiny and the latter defines the destiny.

In 1989, when Tim Berners Lee invented World Wide Web while working at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) he had little idea about the potential of his invention. It heralded a revolution, upon which empires were built and empires were ruined. The world became very small. Today a billion people are caught in this web, reluctant to come out of it.

Information is trivialized; we are told or made to believe because with the present speed of information flow on the web and its universal accessibility, it is indeed true that information is pretty cheap today.

What if internet becomes obsolete? Horrible to imagine………isn’t it?

It is only a matter of months or few years we may be facing it soon. But it is not a horrible thing………….it seems to be an incredible stuff.

The same CERN, a particle-physics research center near Geneva has come up with a super-fast internet system. It is called as the Grid System. Its speed is 10,000 faster than the high speed broadband we have today. It is possible to download few GB of information in a matter of seconds.

This invention was intended for scientific collaborations and further researches where sharing of huge amount of data is necessary. It has already been used to help design new drugs against malaria; Researchers used the grid to analyze 140m compounds – a task that would have taken 420 years for standard internet speed.

CERN started with this project seven years ago while doing research on the origin of the universe. They were conducting experiments on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the new particle accelerator to probe the origin of the universe. They realized that they needed super-fast information computing system which at the same time could be connected to numerous other research centers around the world for collaborating. And the result is the Grid System.

Built entirely out of modern fiber optics and routing technology, the Grid is set to go live, at least in some capacity, this summer. Some 55,000 Grid-compatible servers have already been installed around the world, with that number rising to 200,000 within the next two years.

But lately I am thinking about its consequences on people in the future. If it the Grid becomes universal, imagine how small this world would become. Now itself Netizens have stopped socializing with the  increasing addiction to net and mobile phones. Social networking site are becoming increasingly popular; if we are to have superfast speed, in the future it is possible to directly interact with people around the world in a HD video conferences within these social websites.

Because every piece of information, audio, video anything will be easily accessible every time at very high speed, our desktops would soon become extinct. You need your monitor to just to watch or interact with it. Already important websites are coming up with this idea, providing users online space to store their information. Windows live is one among them.

I am still confused about what the future hold for us. I am for scientific revolutions. They are necessary and should be encouraged.

What strikes me is the fact that the two contrasting worlds we are living in; on one side we have religion making much noise for all the ugly reasons and on the other side we have science and technology rapidly progressing and transforming the lives of many people for the better.