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In today’s world of data-intensive scientific research, cloud computing offers immense value. Here in Brazil, for example, researchers are working on a variety of environmental and urban studies projects that demand a highly scalable and flexible resource infrastructure—exactly what cloud computing on Windows Azure offers. So here’s some good news for Brazilian researchers: on October 15 and 16, Microsoft Research Connections, in collaboration with the Institute of Computing at UNICAMP, is offering a free two-day class on using Windows Azure for data-rich investigations.
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of cloud computing in modern research. As Professor Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, scientific director of FAPESP, observes:
Cloud computing is becoming more and more common in science. The possibility to use a large number of processors and large storage is now offered by a number of services, and researchers in all areas are learning how to make the best of it. The adaptation of code usually takes some time, but the benefits in processing power tend to compensate for the additional work, especially considering that the capital costs are strongly reduced. Advanced training on the use of cloud computing for the use of broad platforms can be extremely valuable to researchers, especially for young investigators.
Ricardo da Silva Torres, director of the Institute of Computing, UNICAMP, adds his endorsement of cloud computing and the upcoming Windows Azure training:
The Azure training workshop at the Institute of Computing (UNICAMP) is a great opportunity to get in touch with cutting-edge technologies and, at the same time, to establish novel collaborations with experts interested in cloud-based solutions. We expect to offer a fruitful environment for discussion not only on practical aspects on the use of cloud technologies, but also on possible research venues to be considered in future proposals.
The Windows Azure for Research Training class will be presented by trainers who specialize in Windows Azure for research. Attendees will be able to access Windows Azure on their own laptops during the training and, for evaluation purposes, for up to six months after the event. Your laptop does not need to have the Windows operating system installed, because Windows Azure is accessed through your Internet browser.
The course is intended specifically for active scientists who are interested in coding in a modern computing context, as well as for computer scientists who are working with such researchers. This is a hands-on class, so some ability to program in a modern language is useful, but the course is suitable for researchers who are using any language, framework, or platform.
The UNICAMP session is the second of 25 classes scheduled for sites around the world, and it is a key part of the broader Windows Azure for Research initiative, which also offers sizable grants of Windows Azure resources through an open global bi-monthly RFP (Request for Proposals) program. On October 17, we will host a session at UNICAMP from 9:00 AM until noon, during which researchers interested in submitting proposals to the Windows Azure initiative or to the special Brazilian MSR-FAPESP Institute RFP will have a chance to discuss the cloud aspects of their proposals with our team.
I hope to see you in Campinas!
—Juliana Salles, Senior Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research Connections