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NSF & Microsoft team up to bring cloud computing to U.S. scientists

The new three-year program from the National Science Foundation and Microsoft announced on Thursday at a news conference in Washington offers scientists the computing power to cope with exploding amounts of research data. It uses Microsoft’s Windows Azure computing system, which the company recently introduced to compete with cloud computing services from companies like Amazon, Google, I.B.M. and Yahoo. These cloud computing systems allow organizations and individuals to run computing tasks and Internet services remotely in relatively low-cost data centers.

“It’s all about data,” said Jeannette M. Wing, assistant director of computer and information science and engineering directorate at the science foundation. “We are generating streams and rivers of data. Genetic sequencing systems are capable of generating as much as a terabyte, 1,000 gigabytes, of information a minute."

Access to the service will come in grants from the foundation to new and continuing scientific research.

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