Grids in Community Settings

The term "grid computing" has a number of different definitions, but is based on the theory that a user can call upon the resources of a number of different systems (servers) for the resources he needs, and the request will be handled by those with the greatest available capacity. This is much like a power grid, or the infrastructure of the Internet, in that all resources are used efficiently under normal conditions and, when an outage occurs, service is uninterrupted because the request can be re-routed through a different path in the grid.

The author also seems to extend the concept of grid to the mash-up, or the service-oriented architecture of systems that can combine information from multiple sources into a single display for the user, with failsafe mechanisms that enable the interface to draw on a different data source if the primary one is available (e.g., if Google's map server is down, the interface can pull in a map from MapQuest or another provider).

(EN: I am skipping the rest of this article. It is focused on technical matters and has little to do with virtual community, except to imply that the grid principle can be applied to "knowledge" in specific categories, such that it is theoretically possible for professionals in a specific discipline to be supported by a grid-based knowledge management system that is supported by, but exists independently of, various institutions.)