What is the Access Grid?

Access Grid may be thought of as advanced video conferencing. It is a collaborative environment that operates over high speed networks. The design focus is on group-to-group communication, in contrast to more desktop-orientated systems that are more individual-to-individual oriented. Access Grid aims to do for people what the computational Grid does for machines.

The main aim of the Access Grid is to provide an effective environment for remote group-to-group collaborations. Access Grid is a research project that attempts to provide a sense of presence to approach that experienced during face-to-face meetings.

Access Grid is a collaborative technology that brings people together in a virtual venue (a kind of electronic 'meeting place'). Access Grid is based on the Grid technology infrastructure that supports e-Science in general and e-Social Science in particular. Social Science researchers will be able to work with a wider range of colleagues (via the Access Grid) on the increasing number of collaborative research projects funded by the Research Councils.

The project is largely developed and supported by a worldwide research community that consists primarily of academic institutions. However, there are also major corporations (e.g. Boeing, Motorola, Johnson & Johnson) that have committed R&D funds to the project and some that offer Access Grid hardware and services as commercial products (most notably inSORS, which develops, markets and supplies off-the-shelf Access Grid solutions with production-quality hardware and software to support collaborations).

Access Grid has been used for events such as lectures, seminars, teaching, project meetings and performance art.