Researchers in universities and elsewhere are using the cloud (and HPC clusters) in their research in order to reduce the cost, or increase the speed of reaching research conclusions. I was asked yesterday for a few examples of how the cloud is improving research, so having created the list, I thought it would be worth sharing:

Technology Case Study Overview Link for more info


Seattle Children’s Hospital

Making bioinformatics data more accessible to researchers worldwide leveraging BLAST technology

Case Study

Windows HPC Server


Africa HIV: Using HPC to find weaknesses in the HIV virus. Shortened years of computations to mere hours to generate 20 key findings allowing scientists to hone in on finding a cure.


Case Study

Azure (MODISAzure)

University Cal Berkeley

MODISAzure is a pipeline for the download, processing, and reduction of diverse satellite imagery by using Windows Azure to deliver the results of massive cloud computational power to the desktops of researchers

Case Study

Windows HPC Server

Intellectual Ventures

Intellectual Ventures is working to eradicate malaria by simulating how the disease spreads. To do so, it uses a computing cluster that runs Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 to take advantage of new features and expand the cluster to include business users.

Case Study


Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza (Italy)

The institute relies on bioinformatics solutions to aid its research projects by looking for discrepancies among DNA samples. To process more genetic data at greater speeds, the institute used Microsoft parallel development tools, such as the support for Parallel Programing in Microsoft .NET Framework 4, to create a set of software plug-ins for the Ocean Workbench, a bioinformatics platform designed to model, check and simulate biological models.

Case Study


University of Newcastle

Uses Azure to execute hundreds of workflows, each is a test of a target molecule for possible use as an anti-cancer drug

Paper presented at ersymposium


University of Trento Centre for COSBI

The work being performed at the CoSBi facility has the potential to have wide-ranging impact. In addition to better understanding of biological systems that could enhance the use of targeted medicines to fight prominent illnesses, systems-biology research on nutrigenomics promises insights into how food can interact with DNA to activate genes that prevent the onset of diseases. And the study of webs of interaction enables the modelling and analysis of ecosystems to determine how the food chain is influenced by human-caused environmental change



Pacific Ecoinformatics

Using Azure to predict the behaviour of different species and whole ecosystems to biological and chemical changes.

View the slides from their 2012 talk

And if that isn't enough, there's some great materials shared from the Cloud Futures 2012 conference, which looked . You can see the agenda, and download associated papers, slides and videos, on the Cloud Futures 2012 website


Learn MoreIf you want to know more about how you can use Windows Azure in research in Higher Education, then  a great starting point is the Azure Research Engagement website