A NEW book by a Cardiff University lecturer explains how some of the latest technologies are making the Internet even more versatile.
Dr Ian Taylor, of the University's School of Computer Science, shows how "hot areas" such as "peer to peer" (P2P) and Grid computing are being used, and how technologies are converging.
He uses examples, ranging from relatively simple file-sharing applications, such as Napster, Gnutella and Freenet to high performance applications, which are capable of transferring terabytes (trillions, or thousands of billions, of bytes) of information worldwide, using modern Grid technology.
"These diverse applications have at least one thing in common - the Internet," said Dr Taylor. "Each of these technologies aims to provide a virtual overlay over the existing Internet, which allows users or programmers to see the Internet not as a collection of incompatible devices but as one coherent platform for deploying their applications."
Grid technology, for example, likens itself to the electrical power Grid, as it wishes to allow users to tap into computing resources off the Internet as easily as electrical power can be drawn from a wall socket.
"To make this happen, the underlying infrastructure would have to be installed in every household and companies would have to agree on what this infrastructure looked like - a formidable task," said Dr Taylor. "However, there is a positive trend towards convergence, and it may not be too far away."
From P2P to Web Services and Grids by Ian Taylor is published by Springer.