Journal of Grid Computing

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 185–200 | Cite as

Intercontinental Grids: An Infrastructure for Demand-Driven Innovation

  • Ashley D. Lloyd
  • Terence M. Sloan


This paper charts the evolution of an intercontinental Grid—INWA—from its first operation connecting Australia and Scotland; its subsequent extension to China; and its use to demonstrate the first large-scale research and education network for the Asia-Pacific region. The paper focuses on the gap between e-Science and e-Social Science arguing that the Grid topology is more compatible with the socio-legal demands of large-scale study of society than more dynamically distributed approaches, such as Cloud Computing. Foundational texts on Grid Computing and its appropriation by research programmes in the UK, USA and China have helped create a positive, symbolic value for Grid Computing. For INWA, this value helped when communicating the aims of the project to potential collaborators and so created the conditions for high-quality, socio-economic data to be placed in a collaborative, analytical environment. There is no equivalent symbolic value for Cloud Computing with potential consequences for its usefulness in establishing such collaborations in future.


Grid e-Science e-Social Science Cloud computing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Business SchoolThe University of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.EPCCThe University of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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