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MIT Technology Review

  • Steve Tuecke


    In 1995,Steve Tuecke’s boss, Ian Foster, offered the organizers of a supercomputing convention a demonstration of “grid computing”— linking supercomputers at university and government labs into a single shared resource. The problem: the labs’ computers had incompatible hardware, security arrangements and queuing procedures, and nobody had written a program to resolve them. “My first thought was ‘Oh,jeez,’” says Tuecke, a software designer in Foster’s Distributed Systems Lab in Argonne, IL. But within weeks, Tuecke had created the code. The demo was the talk of the convention. Tuecke’s software grew into the Globus Toolkit—the “middleware” now used by hundreds of scientists worldwide to share high-end computers, databases and instruments remotely. Using Globus, a European Space Agency researcher could log into his desktop and run a climate simulation on a NASA supercomputer in California.Companies like Compaq, Fujitsu, IBM and Microsoft are eyeing Globus as a foundation for business- to-business Web services. “What the Web did for document sharing, the grid is doing for more general resource sharing,” notes Tuecke, who recently became the lab’s new software architect.