Grid Computing

Grid computing (also called "distributed computing") is a collection of computers working together to perform various tasks. It distributes the workload across multiple systems, allowing computers to contribute their individual resources to a common goal.

A computing grid is similar to a cluster, but each system (or node) on a grid has its own resource manager. In a cluster, the resources are centrally managed, typically by a single system. Additionally, clusters are usually located in a single physical space (such as a LAN), whereas grid computing often incorporates systems in several different locations (such as a WAN).

In order for systems in a computing grid to work together, they must be physically connected (over a network or the Internet) and run software that allows them to communicate. The software used in grid computing is called middleware since it translates the information passed from one system to another into a recognizable format. This allows the data computed by one node within the grid to be stored or processed by another system on the grid.

Grid computing has many different scientific applications. For example, it is used to model the changes in molecular structures, analyze brain behavior, and compute complex physics models. It is also used to perform weather and economic simulations. Some companies also use grid computing to process internal data and provide services over the Internet. Cloud computing, for instance, is considered to be a subset of grid computing.

Updated February 11, 2015

Definitions by TechTerms.com

The definition of Grid Computing on this page is an original TechTerms.com definition. If you would like to reference this page or cite this definition, you can use the green citation links above.

The goal of TechTerms.com is to explain computer terminology in a way that is easy to understand. We strive for simplicity and accuracy with every definition we publish. If you have feedback about the Grid Computing definition or would like to suggest a new technical term, please contact us.

Want to learn more tech terms? Subscribe to the daily or weekly newsletter and get featured terms and quizzes delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe or change your frequency setting at any time using the links available in each email.

Questions? Please contact us.