IBM last week announced a series of partnerships and practices aimed at strengthening grid computing in a variety of organizations that can see benefits in sharing system resources.The company has partnered with Platform Computing and Data Synapse. Platform Computing is best known for its LSF product, which allows server clusters to span a large geographic area and number of operating systems. Data Synapse is involved in the financial and energy markets, where its Live Cluster 3G software is used to add resilience and availability to critical applications. IBM already has "grid computing" partnerships with Avaki, Entropia and United Devices, all makers of grid software.In 2003, IBM will focus its grid efforts in five areas the company says can benefit from grid resources: aerospace, automotive, financial, government and life sciences.It will offer an Analytics Acceleration Grid and an IT Optimization Grid to the financial services market. The first product will let a company increase its competitiveness and flexibility in the area of trading analytics and the throughput of its computational systems, according to IBM claims. Trading analytics software lets traders and strategists perform analysis on large volumes of historical or real-time data relating to stock trades.In the life sciences area, IBM will also offer grid software that lets pharmaceutical, biotech and other companies increase the number of calculations they can process and share data resources.For the automotive and aerospace industries, IBM will allow data and workflow to be shared among partners, permitting faster design processes.For the government the company is allowing agencies to maximize the use of existing server, storage and software resources across the enterprise and allow them to perform data mining operations on sets of unified data.The company will also offer a series of workshops to help customers choose grid technologies.