Monday, October 31, 2005

Fairmont State announced Monday, Oct. 31, that it has joined the West Virginia High Technology Consortium (WVHTC) Foundation's Global Grid Exchangeâ„¢ computing initiative, and is now the second largest provider of donated computing cycles behind only West Virginia University.

"The opportunity to aid West Virginia researchers in computational discovery is an opportunity we embrace here at Fairmont State," said Dr. Daniel J. Bradley, Fairmont State University president. "It's very exciting that we can support research and development simply by donating the idle computing cycles of our campus library and lab computers. We're thrilled to be part of this leading-edge initiative and look forward to exposing FS students to the concept of grid computing."

The Global Grid Exchange is one of various components of an overall initiative by U.S. Rep. Alan B. Mollohan, D-W.Va., aimed at strengthening the competitiveness of West Virginia and U.S. companies by creating and utilizing high-tech processes.

"The power of the Global Grid Exchange is growing every day, thanks to the support of key partners such as Fairmont State. Our goal of diversifying West Virginia's economy with a thriving technology sector is being achieved through innovations such as the Global Grid Exchange, and we welcome the important contributions of Fairmont State and its fellow academic institutions across the state," Mollohan said.

An initiative of the WVHTC Foundation, the Global Grid Exchange is an online marketplace that delivers the spare processing power of countless Internet-connected computers to users involved in business, science and medical research. With access to hardware resources ranging from PCs to mainframes, the Global Grid Exchange can deliver computing power on demand to any desktop computer over the Internet, creating a cost-effective computation infrastructure able to drive innovation in the commercial, government and academic sectors around the world.

"The Global Grid Exchange is a critical part of West Virginia's efforts to strengthen and diversify its economic base because it can provide a new and unique pathway to the research and development dollars of tomorrow. More research and development leads to new product innovations, and companies form around new product innovations. That means jobs for West Virginia. By making this contribution of idle computing capacity, Fairmont State is going to play a significant role in the growth of our high-tech sector and have a measurable economic impact on the state. As always, we're absolutely thrilled to have the support of President Bradley and his team, and it is no surprise that they have stepped up in the truly responsive way that they have," said James Estep, WVHTC Foundation president and chief executive officer.

Ultimately, Global Grid Exchange providers enable the exciting discoveries made by researchers, scientists, engineers and businesses using the grid. All that is necessary for them to do so is that they be willing to share their computers' spare processing power. If they are, they simply download and install a compute engine from the grid web portal (www.globalgridexchange.com). Similar to a screen saver, the compute engine operates only when a provider's computer is not being used. It then processes tasks, smaller parts of an overall job, requested from the Global Grid Exchange server "all in a highly secure manner. Results can then be returned to the researcher in a fraction of the time that would normally be required.

"Our Information Technology staff members were able to easily and quickly install the Global Grid Exchange software on a significant number of workstations on campus, with little or no impact to our faculty and students," said Mike Bestul, Fairmont State's Chief Information Officer. "We are very pleased that we are able to share our technology with the Global Grid Exchange, and the research efforts that benefit from it."

The WVHTC Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Fairmont, W.Va., and functions as an engine of economic change for growing a statewide and regional high tech business sector. The Foundation has established a multi-faceted approach to maximize economic development, including infrastructure development, research and development, commercialization and workforce development.

Fairmont State, comprised of Fairmont State University and Fairmont State Community & Technical College, is located in Fairmont, W.Va. The institutions have a combined enrollment of more than 7,740.