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Even today, there is nothing quite like seeing innovation up close and in person. That’s why you don’t need a calendar to know when it’s the TechFest season at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Every year, researchers from around the world come to Redmond to share their most compelling, innovative work with colleagues, including those who apply the knowledge gleaned from research into Microsoft products.
One of the more compelling topics explored during this year’s TechFest was Client + Cloud Computing for Research. This approach takes into consideration the fact that scientific applications have requirements that range from the desktop to super computers. To meet those requirements, cloud computing provides a way to accommodate evolving scientific needs with a model that’s scalable, economically feasible and accessible on demand.
To learn more about the ways this model can be applied, presentations were given on several projects, including:
- Azure Ocean – A Sea of Data in the Cloud
- Bioinformatics Computation in the Cloud
- ModisAzure – Azure Service for Remote Sense Geoscience
- Tools to Transform the Potential of Cloud to Reality for Research.
Another event of particular interest to the global research community was a presentation on the Microsoft Research Biology Extension for Excel. This add-in for Microsoft Office Excel 2007 simplifies the process of working with genomic sequences, metadata and interval data – all within an Excel document. The Biology Extension implements several features of the Microsoft Biology Foundation (MBF), including a set of parsers for common genome file formats, a set of sequencing algorithms for assembly of a consensus DNA strand and connectors to several Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) Web services for genome identification. It can also be extended to use other MBF features.