IBM and China's Ministry of Education Launch 'China Grid'
Giant Education and Research Grid Capable of 15 Trillion Calculations Per Second
BEIJING, CHINA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 13-10-2003 --
IBM and China's Ministry of Education
announced they have begun using grid technology to enable universities
across the country to collaborate on research, scientific and education
projects. This is one of the world's largest implementations of Grid
computing -- which takes untapped application, data and computing resources
from different computing systems and makes them available where and when
they're needed, resulting in a single, virtual system.
The China Education and Research Grid -- the most ambitious grid project by
a government to date -- is being launched this month with six universities,
and will link more than 200,000 students and faculty members at nearly a
hundred universities across China when the project is completed. When phase
one of the project is completed in 2005, the grid will perform more than
six teraflops, or trillions of calculations per second, and eventually will
be capable of more than 15 trillion calculations per second.
The grid relies on new Web services technology in WebSphere -- IBM's
industry-leading Internet infrastructure software -- that exploits evolving
Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSA) standards. A total of 49 IBM eServer
xSeries running Linux have been deployed. It also includes six units of
pSeries servers running AIX and IBM TotalStorage FAStT200 servers for
The China grid will simplify how students and researchers access education
and computing resources across China. Universities will be connected to a
common virtual hub that automatically finds the appropriate application
resources, from life sciences research to video courses and e-learning.
China's university system will save on development costs since each school
can focus on its area of expertise -- e-learning or life sciences, for
example -- and tap into other applications as needed via the grid.
This is the latest example of China's leadership in Grid computing
adoption. In July 2003, the City of Shanghai began building a grid, with
IBM's help, to integrate information resources spread across the city's
municipal government and handle city-wide emergency and medical services
"Grid computing, and the concept of virtualization at its core, is a key
element in building an on demand business," says Dr. George Wang, director,
IBM China Software Development Laboratory and IBM China Research and
Development Laboratory, IBM Greater China Group. "WebSphere software helps
a grid gather untapped computing capabilities and functionalities and make
it available to users across the grid as needed. IBM leads Grid computing
in China and around the world to help customers realize substantial
business benefit by sharing and optimizing their existing IT infrastructure
using IBM technologies."
Among the first projects to run on the China grid are:
-- Bioinformatics: This provides an integrated platform for research
organizations to share computing and data resources and conduct complex
computational tasks such as protein structural analysis. The Bioinformatics
Grid system, a cooperative project owned by Key Laboratory of
Bioinformatics, China Ministry of Education and Tsinghua University, was
used to help identify the SARS gene and analyze similarities between
different strains of the SARS virus.
-- Video courses: Peking University's Real Course application provides
students with speedier access to video courses by distributing information
through distributed servers. Students from different universities can
browse and enroll for courses online from video information deployed at
disparate servers across the university system.
-- e-learning: The University of Hong Kong e-learning application enables
students to practice Mandarin through an integrated learning portal. It
offers an easy-to-use Web interface that can verify the pronunciation of
Mandarin characters through voice recognition, and a real-time chatting
service. Hong Kong residents grow up speaking Cantonese but many began
studying Mandarin after Hong Kong rejoined mainland China.
Before the grid, universities in China manually wrote proprietary
applications that were incompatible from campus to campus and could only be
shared across the university network on a limited basis. Each university
developed its own suite of applications across research and educational
disciplines, resulting in time-consuming and costly duplication of
Now, using a grid built on WebSphere, China's universities can organize the
vast computational and informational resources of its entire higher
educational system into a centralized, Internet-based hub to perform a wide
range of complex tasks instantaneously. A specific request -- such as a
complex protein-folding computation for infectious disease
research -- can be pushed onto the grid, automatically seek out an
application at another campus that knows how to handle the computation, and
feed it back to the original computer.
IBM Grid computing technology has been deployed in Peking University, South
China University of Technology, Tsinghua University, the University of Hong
Kong, Xi'an Jiaotong University and Sun Yat-sen University. Other
universities involved in phase one of the project are Huazhong University
of Science&Technology, Northeast University, Shandong University, Shanghai
Jiaotong University and Southeast University.
IBM and the participating universities will establish a Grid Application
United R&D Center for the research and development of open grid
architecture solutions based on open standards such as OGSA and Web
services. IBM will work closely with China's Ministry of Education on
implementation, application development and training and also teach
students how to develop applications for and manage the grid. The Ministry
of Education and universities involved in the grid project also will have
advanced access to new grid technologies from IBM.
About IBM China
IBM's involvement in China dates back to 1934, and IBM opened its China
office in 1992. Today, IBM China has 14 branch offices, two fully-owned
subsidiaries and eight joint ventures. One of IBM's eight research centers
is located in China, where more than 300 technical and research talents are
developing the latest technology solutions such as pervasive computing and
wireless solutions, and IBM's customer services center is the largest of
its kind in China.