iSGTW Feature - Malaysia's grid grows in power

Feature - Malaysia's grid grows in power

The Petronas Towers at night, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Image courtesy of Gregor Pogöschnik,

(Editor's note: We were curious about what people in other parts of the world have to say about the grid. Here's an excerpt from Malaysia's "Star Online.")

Malaysia's grid computing system, comprising several thousand CPUs at Mimos Bhd's Technology Park Malaysia headquarters, has been successfully linked to to a European Union-supported grid called Enabling Grids for E-SciencE (EGEE).

Mimos, an applied research organization, said its KnowledgeGrid Malaysia gained a substantial increase in computing power from the link-up with EGEE, which is made up of several clusters located in Germany, Britain, Austria, Turkey, the Netherlands, Italy and other nations. It will allow Malaysian researchers to collaborate more efficiently and easily with their counterparts outside the country.

KnowledgeGrid went through a three-month vetting process with EGEE to assess its performance and security qualities recently. "It had to meet several requirements, such as data fidelity, before it got the green light to join the European network," said Ng Kwang Ming, Mimos senior manager for grid computing. "It is not a one-off process. EGEE will constantly reassess the performance quality of KnowledgeGrid to ensure that it is on par with the European grid," Ng said.

"It also had to achieve assessment algorithms precisely," he added.

Relatively untouched

Despite its power, KnowledgeGrid is under-utilized by Malaysian researchers and industries.

"There are very few users on the grid now, because many (businesses and industries) still don't understand how the KnowledgeGrid can help them," said Abdul Rahman Ahmad Dahlan, director of grid computing at Mimos.

To tell more organizations about the benefits of grid computing, Mimos organized its inaugural Grid Computing Conference (GCC), held in conjunction with the World Congress on Information Technology 2008 (WCIT 2008) in Kuala Lumpur (see Worldwide appeal below for more).

Speakers from organizations such as Open Grid Forum, German D-Grid, Pacific Rim Applications, Thai National Grid Centre and EGEE made presentations at the GCC on May 15-16 at the Palace of the Golden Horses in Seri Kembangan.

Palace of the Golden Horses, Malaysia.
Image courtesy of Palace of the Golden Horses Hotel.

A select audience

Attendance was by invitation only.

Abdul Rahman said the GCC was also a good platform for local scientists and industry players to rub shoulders with their international counterparts and share experiences.

Mimos believes that harnessing the power of grid computing will make industries more agile and competitive, as well help keep R&D costs lower.

"Industries would be able to keep the bulk of their IT budgets for other aspects of product development because KnowledgeGrid would meet most of their computing needs," Abdul Rahman said. Mimos said the two-day conference attracted about 300 local and foreign delegates.

Worldwide appeal

For its part, WCIT is a bi-annual global ICT (information and communications technology) forum that brings together global leaders in business, government and the academia.

Billed as the Olympics of the ICT industry, it hopes to encourage global economic and social development through the exchange of policies and ideas on technology.

WCIT 2008 took place at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from May 18 to 22.

For these and other projects, the grid world is about to become a much more connected place.

- Jo Timbuong, Star Online, Kuala Lumpur. Reprinted with permission of Star Publications (Malaysia)