Globus Toolkit™ 2.0 Wins R&D 100 Award
Since 1963, the R&D 100 awards have recognized each year's most technologically significant innovations. Prior winners have included the developers of Polacolor film (1963), the automated teller machine (1973), the halogen lamp (1974), the fax machine (1975), the liquid crystal display (1980), antismoking nicotine patch (1992), Taxol anticancer drugs (1993), and HDTV (1998).
As a further honor, the Globus Toolkit won an "Editors' Choice" award for "Most Promising New Technology" at the R&D 100 Awards ceremony on October 16 at Navy Pier in Chicago. The new issue of Research and Development Magazine features stories about the winners.
The de Facto Standard for Grid Computing
The Globus Toolkit is central to distributed computing, one of the hottest topics in information technology. Seemingly each day brings a new magazine or newspaper story about the commercial impact of Grids, and specifically about the Globus Project software that The New York Times recently called the "de facto standard" for Grid computing.
The 2002 R&D 100 award brings further recognition to Globus Project leaders Ian Foster, associate director of the ANL Mathematics and Computer Science Division (MCS); Steve Tuecke, lead architect in the MCS Distributed Systems Laboratory (DSL); and their colleague, Carl Kesselman, director of the Center for Grid Technologies at the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute.
Since its 1996 inception, the project has been dedicated to the open-source philosophy of sharing resources to maximize progress and community benefits. The toolkit -- which includes software services and libraries for resource monitoring, discovery, and management, plus security and file management -- is now central to science and engineering projects that total nearly a half-billion dollars internationally, and it is the substrate on which many companies are building significant commercial Grid products.
To coincide with the November 2001 release of Globus Toolkit 2.0, eight firms -- Compaq, Cray, SGI, Sun, Veridian, Fujitsu, Hitachi, and NEC -- announced they will develop an optimized form of the toolkit for their operating platforms as a path toward secure, distributed, multi-vendor Grid computing. Three other companies -- Entropia, IBM, and Microsoft -- simultaneously announced expansions of previous commitments to the Globus Project. Platform Computing has since released a commercially supported version of the toolkit.
IBM has since joined in development of the next-generation Globus Toolkit 3.0, to be based on Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSA) specifications being drafted by Foster, Tuecke, Kesselman and IBM colleagues. IBM compares its commitment to the Globus Project with its earlier move to support the Linux operating system, a successful effort begun in 2000 and slated for $1 billion in near-term investment. So the Globus Toolkit is clearly "big business," even if its creators are not motivated by personal profit.
"All of our industrial participants are committed to contributing modifications to the Globus Toolkit open-source code base," said ANL's Foster, who is also a University of Chicago (U of C) computer science professor and a fellow of the ANL/U of C Computational Institute. "Our vision of seamlessly sharing distributed resources is now within reach for most businesses, thanks to the increasing affordability and speed of desktop computers and of commodity networks that can be aggregated to deliver supercomputer-level performance."