"For years, academics and researchers have used grid computing,
the practice of tying together many machines to form one powerful
supercomputer, to seek cures for diseases, crunch human genome
data, and hunt for signs of extraterrestrial life.
"Yesterday, Butterfly.net and IBM Corp. showed off a more
trivial, yet potentially lucrative, use for grid computing: video
games. In doing so, the start-up and the computing giant set the
stage for millions of players on different platforms--personal
computers, mobile devices, or Sony's PlayStation 2 console--to
compete against each other in virtual worlds larger than any
"'It's really treating gaming as an extreme sport of computing,'
said Scott Penberthy, a vice president with IBM's Global Services