Summer interns at IBM's Extreme Blue program in the US will help to harness the power of computers across the world. Labs in Britain and other European countries will be involved in the project.

The computer whizz-kids will work on building the next generation of grid services and applications. IBM's new grid connecting all its internal research labs will be used as the development platform. The aim is to use the brightest and best computer students to accelerate the company's grid computing initiatives.

Once they have finished the apps, students can test them on IBM's intragrid, which is anchored by geographically distributed supercomputers linking the company's labs in the United States, Switzerland, Japan and England.

The plan is to develop ways in which grid technologies can be used to make money in the commercial world. Pilot projects include databases for sharing information in a grid, a video grid for distribution of digital media content and several web services enabling virtual communities to collaborate using the grid.

"We think grid computing is one of the hottest areas in computing today and this [program] represents an opportunity to have the next generation of talent working on the next generation of computing," said Stuart Feldman, vice president of IBM's internet technology.