What is it?

Computing grids are conceptually not unlike electrical grids. In an electrical grid, wall outlets allows us to link to an infrastructure of resources that generate, distribute, and bill for electricity. When you connect to the electrical grid, you don’t need to know where the power plant is or how the current gets to you. The goal of a computing grid, like that of the electrical grid, is to provide users with access to the resources they need, when they need them.

Grids use a layer of middleware to communicate with and manipulate heterogeneous hardware and data sets, i.e. it coordinate disparate IT resources across a network, allowing them to function as a virtual whole. Grids make research projects possible that formerly were impractical or unfeasible due to the physical location of vital resources.
Grids address two distinct but related goals: providing remote access to IT assets, and aggregating processing power.

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