NEC Corp., Fujitsu Ltd. and Hitachi Ltd. are considering joint development of software for grid computing, the integration of many computers to enable ultrahigh-speed data processing, company sources told Kyodo News on Monday.

The three companies are considering joint development by fiscal 2005, the sources said, adding that other firms, including NTT Data Corp., may join the project.

To financially support the joint development, the government has set aside about 2.8 billion yen in its budget for fiscal 2003, which starts in April.

In grid computing, numerous personal computers, servers and external memory devices are linked via the Internet, allowing for ultrahigh-speed processes to be carried out as if on one computer.

The system is expected to allow companies to cut costs since they will use servers at other companies when necessary, and thus be able to cut down on the number of servers they use in their own offices.

NEC, Fujitsu and Hitachi are eyeing software mainly for commercial use, such as for research institutions and for airlines and hotels, which could use them for reservation systems.

Grid computing is still at a trial stage but is expected to become more common in the future due to the wide-spread use of broadband and the upgrading of computers.

At the World Cup soccer finals last year, which were cohosted by Japan and South Korea, a flood of ticket applications sparked a breakdown in servers, leading to a failure in the reservation system.

Such breakdowns are expected to become a thing of the past under grid computing because the processing burden is dispersed.

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