Labs of the World, Unite!!!
eScience is rapidly changing the way we do research. As a result, many research labs now need non-trivial computational power. Grid and voluntary computing are well-established solutions for this need. However, not all labs can effectively benefit from these technologies. In particular, small and medium research labs (which are the majority of the labs in the world) have a hard time using these technologies as they demand high visibility projects and/or high-qualified computer personnel. OurGrid was designed to fill this gap. It is an open, free-to-join, cooperative grid in which labs donate their idle computational resources in exchange for accessing other labs' idle resources when needed. It relies on an incentive mechanism that makes it in the best interest of participants to collaborate with the system, employs a novel application scheduling technique that demands very little information, and uses virtual machines to isolate applications and thus provide security. The vision is that OurGrid enables labs to combine their resources in a massive worldwide computing platform. OurGrid is in production since December 2004. Any lab can join it by downloading its software from www.ourgrid.org.
Walfredo Cirne is with Google's infrastructure group in California, USA. He is on leave from his faculty position at the Computer Science Department of the Universidade Federal de Campina Grande, in Brazil. Dr. Cirne holds a Ph.D. from the University of California San Diego, in the USA. Since 1997, his research focuses on Distributed Systems and Resource Management, having led the OurGrid project from 2001 to 2006. Further information and publications of Dr. Cirne can be found at http://walfredo.dsc.ufcg.edu.br/index_en.html.