When the Swiss-based pharmaceutical giant Novartis needed a new supercomputer for designing drugs, the company found that it already had one. It was hidden in the unused computing power the company had available in the thousands of PCs that were already being used in its offices.

Novartis used American software technology to harness the power of its office personal computers, but European and American scientists and government officials said Europe is moving faster than the United States to capitalize on the approach, grid computing.

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