Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Clouds and the long tail of science

Sitting in the opening session of the Cloudscape V meeting, Dennis Gannon from Microsoft struck home with openly stating "Physicists don't need our help - they are really good at what they are doing in terms of data management and preservation."

Instead, what is commonly called "the long tail of science" is increasingly responsible for causing the "data deluge" - the seer amount of small research groups consistently produce together more than 1 PB worth of data per year.

Gannon suggest three interesting initiatives in Cloud computing:
  1. Enable SMEs to build science-tailored services
  2. Mobile access to the Cloud
  3. Analytics as a Service
Further, he explains an imaginative "Cloud Science Stack" as an open and extensible system of services that he coins as "Cloud apps for science", such as (links courtesy of
In terms of data preservation a number of apps and projects are attracting interest:
  • Dataverse (Harvard)
  • DataOne (for environemntal science)
  • Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
These are all but a small snapshot of interesting apps and initiatives that may help scientists working "in the long tail" to make the best use of Cloud computing. In summary, long tail science, Gannon suggests, is massively underserved and very much undeservedly so. 

With this presentation the first session of keynote speeches comes to an end - and the attendees will be released to an engaging networking coffee break.

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