Yesterday at GGF8 Tom DeFanti gave an interesting presentation about the OptIPuter. Here's a link to the project site. When I can I'll find a link to the presentation.
The OptIPuter is a five-year, $13.9 million National Science Foundation funded project to interconnect distributed storage, computing and visualization resources using photonic networks. The main goal of the project is to exploit the trend that network capacity is increasing at a rate far exceeding processor speed, while at the same time plummeting in cost. This allows one to experiment with a new paradigm in distributed computing - where the photonic networks serve as the computer's system bus and compute clusters taken as a whole, serve as the peripherals in a potentially, planetary-scale computer.
EVL's current research focus for the OptIPuter is upon developing the next-generation Mod 1 OptIPuter, exploring novel networking technologies among a small number (~2) of clustered development endpoints for high-throughput data transfer and intra-domain control of light-paths.
This web page is Eric Boyd's collection of informant and links from the UCL workshop.
Here's the web page for the UCL workshop last month.