A computational grid essentially provides a mechanism whereby a collection of computers with processing capability is made available to users with computational tasks to perform.
M-grid, a teaching tool developed by academics at the University of Southampton, provides a system for building a computational grid which allows students to explore the potential of such a vast system without any concerns about security.
According to Dr Stephen Crouch at the University’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), M-grid allows students to grasp the concepts of grid computing before they move on to a real system.
‘This service for sharing computing power and data storage over the Internet can be installed in minutes and allows students to familiarise themselves with grid technology quickly,’ said Dr Crouch. ‘Because it operates in a “sandbox”, there are virtually no security risks.’
Dr Crouch and Dr Robert Walters, from the ECS Dependable Systems and Software Engineering group (DSSE), are working in collaboration with the School’s Learning Technologies Group (LTG) to develop M-grid further so that it is even more versatile and changes with the needs of the curriculum.
‘Security is a big issue in grid applications,’ said Dr Crouch, but M-grid will allow us to explore some of these issues further in a safe environment.’
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