“Distributed, distributed, distributed.” This was Jeremy Rifkin’s vision for the future of Europe, outlined in his keynote speech at Research Connection in Prague this morning – distributed energy resources and distributed e-infrastructure, together leading to the next stage of European integration. According to Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends in the US, in the future every building must become its own mini power plant, a positive energy producer.
EGEE and collaborative computing grids are the positive energy producers of the e-infrastructure world – participants contribute more computing resources to the grid than they consume so the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. “Europe must lead and we will follow,” said Rifkin. The importance of what Rifkin called the “distributed ICT revolution” was echoed by John Wood, senior advisor at Imperial College, London in the panel session on recent developments in building the European Research Area. “E-infrastructures are key,” said Wood, sentiments underlined by Bob Jones of Enabing Grids for E-sciencE and Ludek Matyska of the European Grid Iniative in the 'Research Infrastructures: nurturing knowledge' session. The challenge of course: funding the distributed future.