Todays Sunday times, carries this article on Cloud Computing in it's headlines, the whole things seems to have come straight out from one of Dan Browns fiction's, and in fact the article fantastically replicates his writing mannerisms specially the apparent creation of INTERNET by CERN. While I don't deny the fact that CERN is the mother of great inventions and is the home of many a Science scholars, but there's something I would like to bring out from my childhood days, a simple instance proving that Grid computing was always there in place and in various levels!!
I remember as a school kid, Dad had bought this HCL busybee 486 machine, Man o Man --- was I happy!!, Dad used to go to office in the morning and I used to go to school, used to come home, and start fooling around with DOS. And then one day, Dad came home with a bunch of windows 3.1 floppies, and finally when it started I was just awe stuck, allthough I knew that switching into VGA graphics mode from interrupt 19h ( read it in Herbert schildt ), I never knew that graphics could explode into such a big mystical thing. From this point ownwards, i started noticing the bottlenecks that my PC started going into. Along this time, there was this guy in my school, who was an UNIX fanatic, matter of fact me, my dad and my buddy were all UNIX lunatics, one day me and my buddy were as usual hiding in my building terrace and puffing away.....(hehehehe, my summer of '99...best days of my life ), when we suddenly stuck upon this concept.....We coupled our PC's mine running on windows, his on Unix( hang on guys I know today this stuff is hopelessly common, and one would say I am talking rubbish, but take this, i and my buddy were about 16 - 17 years old and not brilliant at all, just meagre morsels in the trade ). We did the coupling on serial port, we wrote a terminal program on both the machines....( Oh and what experience I had with turbo C, it rocked....as programming with UNIX was quite simple using GC and Bourne shell ), The whole idea was to take a really really big number kind of a long long long number and get it's factorial.
One may say, any one machine could have done it, but hey c'mon, we were trying to prove somethings!!
We split up the numbers, giving it a 50% processing power on each machine. In fact within 2 weeks we came up with an algorithm to actually break up a huge number into seeds and spread it into the two machines and forget about what the other guy was doing. We moved onto publish the algo, which was kindof adapted by ICS Delhi...Don't even know if they exist anymore ).
One day, in that same period, I came upon an article by Berkeley systems asking for volunteers for sharing their computers over the net, I dont quite remember, but possibly they had embarked on intercepting some extraterrestrial systems, and wanted to process it in real time, the article stuck me....
Then came Peer to Peer computing( Do I have to say anything ).
And then today's article about CERN using the internet for creating a huge Virtual PC for analysing the results of theirs Large Haldron Collider..............I wonder which huge entity God used when he was creating the universe for all the processing power he required......
One thing for sure though, Cloud computing has arrived big time!!