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Grid Pioneer Ian Foster Discusses the Future of Science in the Cloud

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Ian Foster

Ian Foster, University of Chicago

Argonne National Laboratory

University of Chicago professor Ian Foster, director of the Computation Institute, has a vision to facilitate a transformational change in scientific research, to the point where research capabilities such as massive data and exponentially faster computers become accessible to researchers everywhere.

"We need to take the [information technology (IT)] required for research and deliver that IT in a convenient and cost-effective manner, just as Google delivers email and delivers customer relationship management," Foster says.

He notes that the Globus Alliance has started to move in this direction by concentrating on transferring large volumes of data between locations, bundling this capability into a service called Globus Online. Foster describes Globus Online as "our first foray into what you might call a computational science cloud: Hosted services that let you 'use the grid' without installing software."

Foster cites an instance in which an early user employed Globus Online to move data from a single source to 11 sites across the United States as an example of how Globus Online can enhance computing processes. Another goal of Foster's is making the sharing of files and results with collaborators more intuitive, manageable, and direct in order to eliminate much of the tedium inherent in scientific research.

From HPC in the Cloud
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