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On-Demand Grid Computing
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Back in 2000 I wrote a story called "Snowflakes" (which I shopped around but nobody bought), in which an Inuit hacker buys computing cycles to use evolutionary algorithms to design a snowskiff (a kind of racing hovercraft for snow).

Well, today Sun announced on-demand grid computing. You pay something like $1/hour/cpu to run your application in what's called an N1 Grid Container, which basically farms out your processing across the internet to Sun's machines.

If this actually works (and though there are some very real technical issues...such as security, to overcome), it will be interesting to see how this impacts science and industry.

Jonathan Schwartz of Sun in his blog yesterday envisions a future where you buy computing power just like you buy cell phone time or cable services.

That could be a big breakthrough for a lot of scientific computing (especially genetic algorithms, which are extremely computationally expensive), since clusters are expensive and difficult to build and maintain.

Cool, huh?

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