Internet and Grid-Based Computation Systems and their Applications


 Fall 2003


Instructor - J.C. Browne


The Internet is providing the basis for a new generation of systems for computation and for analysis, sharing and transport of data. Major computer companies (IBM, Microsoft, Sun, etc.) are developing or adopting systems for implementation of Internet-based systems and services.  IBM has some of its laboratories and development organization for grid and web services and computing on demand in Austin.  Microsoft’s .Net initiative is focused on development of Internet-based systems. 


There are several models of computation for Internet-based systems.  Examples of such systems include Globus which is usually used to couple of a small number of very large-scale parallel machines with a program based on MPI.  Globus is essentially a resource management system.  Legion (now called Avaki) is a commercially supported system for distributed management and control of data and computations. Another commonly used system is Condor which utilizes "farms of workstations." Condor is also a resource management system.  A similar (to Condor) commonly used model is SETI@home  where a very large number of personal computers are utilized in a loosely-coupled mode.  There are languages and systems based on so-called coordination models and languages. There are also internet-based systems for collaborative computations. Alternative models of Internet-based computation including peer-to-peer organization of computations where computations are organized as systems of autonomous but coordinating agents or systems are emerging as a major topic of research.  


There are many open research topics in Internet and Grid-based computation.  Strategies and protocols for management of heterogeneous resource systems and computations on them is a central issue.  Models and languages for formulation of internet-based systems is another central issue.  Adaptation of computations to diverse and dynamic execution environments is largely unstudied.


This seminar will be a study of current research on the models, languages and systems for formulating Internet-based systems.  The course material will be papers from the current literature.  Examples of papers and lectures can be found on the web page for the Fall 2002 offering of this seminar.

Lectures will be given by the instructor and by guest lecturers including representatives of TACC, and commercial firms which have developed software for implementation of Internet based applications.  Students participating in the seminar will also give presentations on their projects.


Each student participant will be responsible for a project which can be evaluation of the state of the art in one research topic, evaluation of one system for development of Internet-based applications or study of one of the many open and interesting problems in Internet scale systems and computations.  The evaluations development systems for applications will be based on study of the conceptual basis for each system, applications of the system and implementation of and measurement of the behavior of an application implemented in the system.  One project from the Fall 2003 offering of this seminar will be presented at the 2003 HPDC and published in the Proceedings of that conference.


The class is open to any  graduate student in Natural Sciences or Engineering with  an interest in internet-based computational systems but an interview with the instructor is recommended before enrollment.  The instructor welcomes inquiries about the course (  Further information can be found at the url