Microsoft's Azure Tackles Big Data to Aid Science
The software giant encourages researchers to let its cloud make short work of massive sets of scientific data and unearth new discoveries.Microsoft's Azure cloud platform can do more than process enterprise workloads and power the company's wide-ranging online services portfolio. It can also help researchers fish out scientific discoveries from a sea of big data. While Microsoft's cloud is largely defined by its consumer- and business-friendly capabilities, the company has been reaching out to the scientific community to popularize the platform among researchers. The Microsoft Azure for Research Award program, for instance, encourages scientists to submit research proposals for a shot at cloud computing time. The company is joining Google in supporting the White House Climate Data Initiative by pledging 12 months of free Microsoft Azure resources, including up to 180,000 hours of cloud computing time and 20TB of storage. Microsoft is accepting proposals up to June 15. Drawing attention to cloud computing's heightened role in science research, Xin Ma, a senior research program manager at Microsoft Research Asia, said in blog post that her group "has collaborated closely with domestic and international researchers on a wide range of topics, including the environment, data modeling, biological computing, climate change, and urban computing." Those efforts are starting to pay off in the form of projects that help scientists cut big data down to size.
"In this era of big data, cloud computing offers scientists a platform for dealing with massive amounts of data and the growing requirements of distributed, multidisciplinary collaborations to drive new discoveries," said Eric Chang, senior director of technology strategy at Microsoft Research Asia, in a statement.