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A major EPSRC grant has been awarded to a consortium of universities and collaborating institutions under the U.K. government's initiative on e-science. Called RealityGrid, the project aims to grid-enable the realistic modelling and simulation of complex condensed matter structures at the meso and nanoscale levels as well as the discovery of new materials. The project also involves applications in bioinformatics and its long term ambition is to provide generic technology for grid based scientific, medical and commercial activities.

"Grid computing" refers to an ambitious and exciting global effort to develop an environment in which individual users can access computers, databases and experimental facilities simply and transparently, without having to consider where those facilities are located. The Global Grid Forum is a starting point for more information; an excellent example of a project dedicated to realising the Grid concept is The Globus Project. The UK Grid Support Centre provides support for UK grid applications.

RealityGrid proposes to extend the concept of a Virtual Reality centre across the grid and links it to massive computational resources at high performance computing centres and experimental facilities. Using grid technology to closely couple high throughput experimentation and visualization, RealityGrid will move the current bottleneck out of the hardware and back to the human mind. A twin-track approach will be employed within RealityGrid: a "fast track" will use currently available grid middleware to construct a working grid, while a "deep track" will involve computer science teams in harnessing leading-edge research to create a robust and flexible problem-solving environment in which to embed the RealityGrid.