"Hewlett-Packard, Compaq Computer and SGI have joined with
distributed computing software seller Platform Computing and a host
of other companies to standardize the way computers are
harnessed into distributed computing collections. ... The concept
of distributed computing is what underlies the power of the
SETI@home project, which uses idle PC time to collectively search
for alien communication signals--but there are more profitable
applications as well."
"Numerous start-ups are trying to take advantage of interest in
the area, while Turbolinux and Sun Microsystems each have their own
products for distributed computing. But distributed computing
suffers from a problem: For a calculation to run on 1,200 different
computers, someone has to write software for all those computers.
It's not hard if it's 1,200 identical Windows PCs, but it gets more
difficult when Unix servers, Linux workstations, Mac graphics
stations or even intelligent refrigerators get thrown into the
"The new consortium, called the New Productivity Initiative,
hopes its standard will make it easier to take advantage of
distributed computing. The group plans to seek the endorsement of
an independent standards organization."
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