U.S. computer scientists Carl Kesselman, lan Foster, and Steve Tuecke had the bright idea that computers could be loosely coupled together to provide massive computing ability just as power stations can be linked to supply extra electricity. With computer grids and power grids the consumer does not have to worry about the source or the location of the input. Different types of computers can be incorporated and these may be located all over the world. Your own computer can be used in a grid when you are asleep, during lunch breaks, or even at random moments during the day when the computer is waiting for input. High-speed interconnections are usually not available and so the system works best on problems where independent calculations can be carried out without the participating processors having to communicate.
Needless to say, software has to be carefully designed to check for untrustworthy, malfunctioning, and malicious nodes. It also has to accommodate nodes going off-line at random times. The participating nodes also have to trust the central system not to interfere with their individual programs, security, and data storage.
Grid computing is widely used for solving extremely complicated mathematical problems and for specific computing applications where huge amounts of data are involved. The latter include the interrogation of molecular modeling data for pharmaceutical drug design, the analysis of electrical brain activity, the searching of radio telescope receiver output for messages from extraterrestrial civilizations, and the investigation of the outputs of high-energy physics machines, such as the Large Hadron Collider while it looks for new elementary particles.