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smart grid

(1) See grid computing.

(2) An electrical power distribution network that includes two-way, digital communications between producers and consumers in addition to transmitting electricity. For example, when power is least expensive throughout the day, the smart grid could turn on selected home appliances such as washing machines or factory processes that can run at arbitrary hours.

A smart grid includes an intelligent monitoring system that keeps track of all electricity flowing in the system. It also incorporates the use of superconductive transmission lines for less power loss, as well as the capability of integrating alternative sources of electricity such as solar and wind.



grid computing

(1) May refer to a cloud computing service that provides a complete server infrastructure but not applications. See cloud computing.

(2) A parallel processing architecture in which CPU resources are shared across a network, and all machines function as one large supercomputer. It allows unused CPU capacity in all participating machines to be allocated to one application that is extremely computation intensive and programmed for parallel processing.

There Is a Lot of Idle Time
In a large enterprise, hundreds or thousands of desktop machines sit idle at any given moment. Even when a user is at the computer reading the screen and not typing or clicking, it constitutes idle time. These unused cycles can be put to use on large computational problems. Likewise, the millions of users on the Internet waste massive amounts of machine cycles every minute that could be harnessed instead. This is precisely what the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence program does with Internet users all over the world (see SETI).

Naturally, grid computing over the Internet requires more extensive security than within a single enterprise, and robust authentication is employed in such applications.

Peer-to-Peer and Distributed Computing
Grid computing is also called "peer-to-peer computing" and "distributed computing," the latter term first coined in the 1970s, which had no relationship to this concept. See distributed computing, PC philanthropy and anticiparallelism. See also peer-to-peer network and peer-to-peer.



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