By using GPOD, the ADA has already experienced a dramatic improvement in the time it takes to process a component of diabetes-related research, from 48 hours down to one hour, and is expecting further reductions in time for improved efficiency. Previously, such calculations stretched the limits of normal computing resources and caused unacceptable delays.
"Renting supercomputer time to perform these types of calculations can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars", stated Dr. Richard Kahn, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association, a non-profit organisation based in Alexandria, Virginia. "By leveraging thousands of computers on the Gateway grid, we are able to perform our studies quickly and accurately."
Conceived as a technique to process information normally handled by supercomputers, grid computing links thousands of PCs to collectively share processing power. Gateway's POD service launched December 2002, joining nearly 7000 computers in Gateway retail stores across the United States. Unlike several companies that have promised grid computing, Gateway's POD service is available today, ranking it among the top 10 largest supercomputers in the world by processing power. In fact, Gateway's grid can produce more than 11 TFLOPS or trillion floating point operations per second at peak capacity, with most nodes averaging 2,0 GHz or better.
"The beauty of this solution is that customers can take advantage of the high-performance grid computing power of nearly 7000 PCs without investing upfront capital building their own technology infrastructure", stated Bob Burnett, executive vice president and chief technical officer, Gateway Inc. "Companies pay only for the processing power they need to solve their complex computational problems."
While Gateway provides the hardware for the GPOD service, United Device's Grid MP Alliance platform provides the virtual operating system for the grid. Customers submit job requests, get real-time status updates and pick up results when the job is complete, all covered by United Device's unmatched Grid MP security architecture. To process its data on the grid, the ADA runs what is called "the Archimedes software application", originally developed by Kaiser Permanente. The ADA grid may also serve as the test bed for further development of the Archimedes application.
"This is a great example of an application ideally suited for the GPOD", stated Ed Hubbard, CEO of United Devices. "Now small and medium-sized companies have such a large amount of compute power available on demand, there is no reason not to reap the benefits of reduced processing time and increased competitive edge." The Gateway Processing On Demand service is competitively priced based on processor hours used and does not require any long-term or minimum-usage commitments.
Since its founding in 1985, Gateway has been a technology and direct marketing pioneer, using its call centres, Web site and network of retail stores to build direct relationships with consumers, businesses, government offices, schools and universities. The company's rapidly growing line of Gateway-branded products includes plasma-screen displays, DLP projectors, tablet PCs, and systems and networking products and services.
United Devices is specialised in secure grid solutions. The company's Grid MP platform is used to aggregate compute resources on a network to create an enterprise grid capable of running a wide range of high-performance computing applications in life sciences, geosciences, manufacturing, financial services, chemical engineering and other industries. The company's solutions are available in both enterprise and on-demand deployments. United Devices also operates the world's largest Grid for grand-scale research that consists of more than two million devices in over 220 countries.
The American Diabetes Association is a voluntary health organisation supporting diabetes research, information and advocacy. The Association's mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. Founded in 1940, the Association provides services to hundreds of communities across the United States.