The cloud promises to make computing faster, more reliable, and less expensive. As much as that appeals to the everyday computer user, it will make a huge difference to the research agencies that are expanding the boundaries of scientific knowledge. In Europe, three agencies are teaming up to make one giant leap in computing: the Helix Nebula Science Cloud.
CERN, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the European Space Agency (ESA) all perform research that involves massive amounts of data- CERN stores 15 petabytes per year and writes 6GB of data per second, reports GigaOM.
In a two-year pilot program, the Helix Nebula Science Cloud will focus on three projects: CERN's particle physics Atlas Project (which uses the hadron collider), the EMBL's genome research and the ESA's project studying earthquakes and volcanoes. All three are important projects that will advance our knowledge of the universe, the planet and our bodies.
But it's also crucial that the new center be used in as environmentally-friendly a manner as possible. Cloud computing can cut carbon emissions and the energy used by computers in general. But ultimately, the cloud is only as green as the people using it.