Grid technology, or Grid computing, is rooted in scientific research ranging from seismology to medicine and pharmaceuticals, to climate modelling (Smith, 2005). It was originally considered as a means of using under-utilised large scale computing resources to solve complex numerical problems (Foster & Kesselman, 1998).
Unsurprisingly, today Grid technology is a mix of computer technologies, softwares and protocols which, among other aspects, are concerned with “coordinated resource sharing and problem solving in dynamic, multi-institutional virtual organizations.” (Foster et al., 2001, p. 2). Foster (2002) reinforces the concepts of resource sharing and the “multi-institutional virtual organization” when he suggests that a Grid “integrates and coordinates resources and users that live within different control domains” which can include “different administrative units of the same company; or different companies” (2002, p. 1). Foster goes on to suggest two further central elements of a Grid: the use of “standard, open, general-purpose protocols and interfaces”; and the delivery of “nontrivial qualities of service.” (2002, pp. 1-2). This idea of quality of services is particularly relevant to trust as it covers such issues as resource availability, reliability, and security – issues which will be discussed more later on in this chapter.