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Home > iSGTW 24 January 2007 > iSGTW Feature - grid, Grid or GRID?

grid, Grid or GRID?


Even after two years of immersion in the grid world, there’s one question that never fails to grab this editor’s attention: How to capitalize the word “grid”?

To most in the community, choosing between grid, Grid or GRID probably isn’t their most pressing issue. To writers and editors, whose livelihoods revolve around questions of grammar, punctuation and capitalization, it looms large. It’s one of the first decisions I faced when starting the original Science Grid This Week in 2005, and I have been called on many times since to defend my choice.

As trivial as capitalization may seem on the surface, I believe how you spell “grid” reflects much about how you view the grid computing concept. Capital Grid, in analogy to the Internet, implies one unified worldwide infrastructure that anyone can easily plug in to. Lowercase grid, on the other hand, implies that the infrastructure you’re talking about is one of many. And the less said about GRID, the better. (Is it an acronym? If so, will someone please let me know what it stands for?)

In early 2005–and still today–I believe the lowercase “grid” reflects more realistically the state of the grid community. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of grid projects worldwide, and thousands of grid users running all sorts of grid applications on many flavors of grid middleware. When people write to say they’re “getting on the Grid,” they’re joining one specific grid infrastructure, not a universal Grid.

Of course the readers most affected by our “g or G” choice are not those already involved in the grid community, but the grid-uninitiated. Painting a picture of “the Grid” as an existing universal infrastructure raises expectations among the public that our community can’t yet fulfill. But I believe that as more and more grids work to become interoperable, and middleware and technology standards are created and widely adopted, we’ll move ever closer to a capital-Grid world.

Katie Yurkewicz has acted as editor, publisher, and chief proponent of Science Grid This Week, now International Science Grid This Week, since April 2005. This issue is her last as iSGTW Editor-in-Chief.


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