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CNET News.com: Buddy, can you spare some processing time?

Sep 01, 2000, 23:11 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Stephen Shankland)

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"Companies are springing up with business models that involve farming out computing tasks to hundreds or thousands of computers on the Internet or private networks. Biotechnology and financial companies already are showing an interest in the technique, called "distributed computing." Distributed computing isn't a new idea, as shown by the popularity of SETI@home, a screensaver program that processes radio telescope signals to search for extraterrestrial communications."

"...TurboLinux sells a product called EnFuzion that lets corporations farm out computing tasks across their computers using any operating system. Customers using EnFuzion so far include financial firms J.P. Morgan and AMP Assets, Procter & Gamble for computer-aided design, and Motorola for chip design, said TurboLinux spokesman Jacob Webb."

"Another hitch with distributed computing is installing the calculation software on the myriad machines participating. It's hard enough to get people to install software, but it's even harder to get them to swap it for new software when a company wants to change from, say, designing a chip to analyzing the derivatives market. Parabon gets around this by installing only one piece of software, a generic computing engine called Frontier that is capable of performing a variety of tasks. The company has a Windows version of the software and will release a Linux version next month and Mac and Unix versions later."

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