Foster and Kesselman Publish 2nd Edition of The Grid

12.2.2003 -- “The Grid is an emerging infrastructure that will fundamentally change the way we think about – and use – computing.” So begins the preface to The Grid 2: Blueprint for a New Computing Infrastructure, edited by Ian Foster, Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago, and Carl Kesselman, Information Sciences Institute, USC. This book was debuted at SC2003 (the annual supercomputing meeting) last week in Phoenix, AZ.

Foster, Smarr & Kesselman
Ian Foster, Larry Smarr, Carl Kesselman at SC2003

Foster and Kesselman compare the likely impact of the Grid in providing access to computing and related services to that of pervasive access to the electric power grid, believing the Grid will have a similar transforming effect on human capabilities and society.

The 1st edition of this book was published in mid-1998. Most of the material from that edition is available on the Web, allowing the 2nd edition to focus on what is new. According to the preface, “This edition, like the first edition, is intended to serve simultaneously as a manifesto, design blueprint, user guide, and research agenda for future Grid systems.” The editors hope to “advance understanding of the technologies needed to create the Grids of the future and the implications of these technologies for future applications of computers.”

While much in the 1st edition remains true, the editors point out that “our understanding has evolved tremendously with respect to the nature both of the opportunities offered by Grid computing and of the technologies needed to realize those opportunities.” During the five years since the 1st edition was published, the Globus Toolkit, for example, has become widely adopted as the de facto standard Grid middleware and has been called the “Linux of the Grid.” In addition, the Global Grid Forum’s Open Grid Services Architecture is being adopted by industry and the academic research community around the world. So the editors’ focus has evolved from what might be to what is, remaining mindful of the challenges that lie ahead.

This book addresses a broad range of issues in computer science: distributed systems, networking, computer and network security, electronic commerce, information systems, databases, operating systems, high-performance computing, and algorithms. The authors, including the editors themselves, are each recognized as authorities in one or more of these fields. Their charge, in preparing their chapters, was to summarize the state of the art in their technology areas, anticipate developments over the next 5-10 years, and identify key obstacles to progress.

Mindful of readers’ “backs and wallets,” the editors have structured the book into seven sections and 30 chapters, each of which can be read in isolation. The book is designed to by used by “the practicing professional or as a text for a senior undergraduate- or graduate-level course in advanced networking, distributed computing, or Grids.” A Web site provides additional explanatory information:

Calit² members contributing chapters include UCSD faculty members Francine Berman, Andrew Chien, Mark Ellisman, and Larry Smarr. "This book arrives at a critical juncture," says Smarr, Calit² director, "as Science is transforming to e-Science through the medium of the Grid."

Foster and Kesselman have collaborated since the late 1980s. Their work has garnered many awards, including the 1997 Global Information Infrastructure Next Generation Internet award, a 2002 R&D 100 award, the 2002 R&D Editor’s choice award, and the 2002 Ada Lovelace Medal from the British Computing Society.

To order the book, go to