The Grid was developed out of the project of Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the new particle accelerator built to probe the origin of the universe. CERN’s LHC requires massive computing power.
LHC will generate an annual data equivalent of 56 million CDs (enough to make a stack 40 miles high). So, they needed a new advanced system to save and analyze the data. Thus, the grid was born.
“We need so much processing power, there would even be an issue about getting enough electricity to run the computers if they were all at CERN. The only answer was a new network powerful enough to send the data instantly to research centers in other countries.”
The old Internet is linked together by a series of cables and routing equipment originally designed for telephone calls (hence lack the capacity for high speed data transmission required for high definition movies, online gaming, holographic images, data from astronomy and others).
The new grid, on the other hand, will have dedicated fiber optic cables and modern routing centers and will be able to transmit data in mere seconds compared to hours or days.
"Although the grid itself is unlikely to be directly available to domestic internet users, many telecoms providers and businesses are already introducing its pioneering technologies. One of the most potent is so-called dynamic switching, which creates a dedicated channel for internet users trying to download large volumes of data such as films. In theory this would give a standard desktop computer the ability to download a movie in five seconds rather than the current three hours or so."