Windows Azure and Info-Plosion: Technical computing in the cloud for scientific breakthroughs

Today Microsoft and Japan’s National Institute of Informatics (NII) announced  a joint program that will give university researchers free access to Windows Azure cloud computing resources for the “Info-Plosion Project.”  This project is aimed at developing new and better ways to retrieve information and follows a similar agreement with the National Science Foundation to provide researchers with Windows Azure resources for scientific technical computing.

These cloud research engagement projects are helping usher in a new era of technical computing. Technical computing, a.k.a. high performance computing, is all about using many computers simultaneously to do complex calculations on massive amounts of data.  Extracting valuable insights from these oceans of data allows scientists to build sophisticated simulations and models of the world around us in an effort to answer large and complex questions.  Scientific research of all types, along with industries such as manufacturing, finance and digital content creation, is naturally a hotbed for technical computing.  But researchers still need better, simpler ways to take advantage of the technology.

As I’ve described in previous posts, Microsoft’s technical computing initiative is focused on empowering a broader group of people to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. Our aim is mainstream technical computing with tools, platforms and services that take advantage of computing power across the desktop, servers and the cloud.

Bringing technical computing to the cloud is truly a cornerstone of our initiative.  As Dan Reed, corporate vice president of Technology Strategy and Policy, says “Cloud computing can transform how research is conducted, accelerating scientific exploration, discovery and results.”  By providing academics, as well as those in business and government, with access to virtually unlimited computing horsepower we can empower scientific breakthroughs that impact all walks of life.  And complementing this effort is investment in simpler, more efficient solutions to build technical computing applications.

Moving forward, you will hear more from me and others here at Microsoft about how we are bringing technical computing to the cloud. 

Stay tuned…it’s going to be exciting.

Posted by Bill Hilf