West Virginia to start grid

West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation

This fall, West Virginia will launch its Global Grid Exchange, an open public infrastructure that will bring together idle or unused computer processing power throughout the state.

The grid is funded through the state's Economic Development Authority, and developed under the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation. Participants hope that bringing together unused computing resources via the Internet will create a grid that provides a common and inexpensive infrastructure for government, academia and industry.

According to state officials, the Global Grid Exchange will be the largest public computing grid in the world.

"The response to this effort from around the state has been incredible, resulting in an amazing commitment of donated computing resources — from PCs to mainframes — that will help power the Global Grid Exchange," Gov. Bob Wise said in a statement.

Initially, the infrastructure will be available for economic development initiatives within West Virginia, but the goal is to open it to anyone around the world, said James Estep, president and chief executive officer of the foundation.

The concept of grid computing, which focuses on distributed computational power, has been around for decades. One of the most famous is the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence project, which uses idle processing power on computers around the world connected through the Internet.

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