Monday, July 7, 2008

UK Launches 'Green Grid Computing' Competition

The government-funded Grid Computing Now network has kicked of a competition which invites participants to help solve environmental issues through grid computing.

Grid computing involves the sharing of computer power and data storage over the internet.

Well known examples include the Folding@Home project which utilises the idle power of PCs and PlayStation 3s to help with cancer research.

The 'Grid Computing for a Greener Planet' competition is supported by Microsoft, Intellect, the British Computer Society, 451 Group, Memset, the National e-Science Centre, Oxford e-Research Centre, WWF and The Technology Strategy Board.

Entrants are challenged to find any way that grid computing can be applied to an environmental issue that stands to benefit from a huge amount of raw processing power to calculate huge data sets.

"All too often IT is portrayed as an environmental villain, but through this competition participants have the chance to showcase examples of the great work being done within the sector to combat the environmental challenges we all face, " said Dennis Pamlin, global policy advisor for the WWF.

The competition is open to UK residents and has two entry tracks, one professional and one non-professional. Entrants will be judged primarily on their project's feasibility, scope and creativity.

The first grid computing competition, launched in 2006, invited participants to solve any type of problem. Entries ranged from using grid for asteroid tracking intelligence to exploiting the internet to help combat terrorism.

The previous winner, Gopok Goteng, proposed the use of a grid's processing power to crunch real-time CCTV footage and biometric data to identify potential high-risk incidents.

"We were very pleased with the success of the first competition and scope of entries," said Ian Osborne, director of Grid Computing Now.

"We expect an even greater response to this competition which has a very clear focus: to harness the power of grid computing to help tackle environmental issues."

Prizes for this year's competition include:

* A one-year membership to the BCS
* An industry mentor to help the winner progress their idea
* A week-long internship at the National e-Science Centre at the University of Edinburgh
* A Sony Vaio or Microsoft Xbox 360
* A one-year limited subscription to The 451 Group's EcoEfficient and Grid services research

The entry deadline for the first stage of the competition is 1 September 2008 and entry forms and further details can be found on the Grid Computing Now website.