The Ubiquitous Grid

The Ubiquitous Grid

Patricia Sedlar (Johannes Kepler University, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-960-1.ch004

Abstract

Grid computing is an emerging technology providing the possibility to aggregate resources for the solution of computation- or data-intensive scientific tasks. Taking the evolution of mobile computing into consideration, new Grid concepts are conceivable, fully exploiting the advantage of mobile devices and ubiquitous access. By decoupling resource availability from the core grid infrastructure and hardware, the user has always the same computational power, data or storage available, regardless of a device or location. Thus restricted capabilities of thin clients can be extended and new fields of application can be made accessible. The key concept is “The invisible grid” – the grid environment should just be there for the use of applications in science, business, health care, environment, or culture domains. Having this concept in mind, the following scenario is conceivable: Equipped with your mobile phone, which you always have with you, you are walking around and are taking a picture of an object you are interested in. You are sending the picture to the grid, where the visual information is extracted. After the analysis, information about the captured object is sent to you. Thus you have a search engine on a visual base at your permanent disposal, information captured as seen by your eyes – without the need of textural translations or the need to know the object’s name or ID in order to retrieve information about it. Realizing the scenario above, the user obtains a smart tool, easing information retrieval considerably by making use of ubiquity in combination with grid computing. But the scenario has even more potential in terms of pervasiveness. The use of mobile devices can provide a user with additional location bound information. With a portable device the user is able to access location-based services or to collect environmental information to be processed within a grid. At this stage research activities in the field of pervasive computing comeinto play. Pervasive computing pursues the goal to enhance the environment with sensors and smart objects in order to provide the user with suitable context-based and/or location-based services. Expanding the introduced setting with the capabilities from pervasive computing, the following scenario is conceivable: You are an invited speaker on a conference and you are moving through the rooms of the venue. All rooms are equipped with cameras covering all perspectives of view. You are looking at a person from whom you want to know the research interests. You flick with your finger, to capture the camera picture from your perspective. The picture is processed within the grid and the ambient display next to you shows the requested information.

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