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

“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 [email protected], 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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