Dell to support academic grid

9 Jun 2004

Dell has announced that it is to donate the technical infrastructure that will enable 11 institutes of higher education to connect to Grid-Ireland, the national computing system that allows researchers to share high-powered computing resources.

Hitherto, only four third level universities – Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, NUI Galway and Queens University Belfast – were connected to the system. The system will give all colleges access to Grid-Ireland for academic and non-commercial joint academic/industry research in a number of regional centres. The colleges will be given access via a mini-gateway that will comprise a Dell PowerEdge rack server and PowerConnect Gigabit switch.

The value of Dell’s donation was not disclosed.

Commenting on the initiative, Tim McCarthy, general manager, Dell Ireland said: “The activities of Grid-Ireland and the European grid community are playing a significant role in creating the future of computing locally, in Europe and beyond. Already there is exciting partnership and collaboration visible amongst the research community and industry and we expect further exciting developments to emerge in the coming weeks as a result of the strengthening links between all interested parties.”

He added: “Industry stands to benefit significantly from access to the collaborative platforms that can be derived through Grid-Ireland. At Dell we felt that it is vital that any strategic developments in the area of grid computing should facilitate involvement for industry of all sizes and in all parts of Ireland. To this end, we are delighted to have donated gateways that will be set up at a number of locations throughout the country and which will enable increased access to the grid and facilitate joint academic and industry research. We also hope that they will provide Grid-Ireland with a firm foundation in both academic and business communities.”

Commenting on Dell’s donation, Dr John Morrison, UCC, for Grid-Ireland said: “Our objective is to give as many users as possible access to the grid so that they can reap the benefits and contribute to its ongoing development. The donation by Dell of the technical infrastructure required to develop gateways to the grid will provide unprecedented access to the power of grid computing.”

Grid computing was developed by particle physicists and computer scientists who wanted to push out the boundaries of traditional computing to make computer resources available on-demand by linking hundreds of computers to effectively ‘pool’ high-performance computing resources. There are a number of grid computing initiatives happening both at national and transnational level in Europe.

By Brian Skelly