In this era of advancing technologies that enable increasing volumes of data, cloud computing services offer a rich ecosystem of reliable computing infrastructure with flexibility in terms of cost, scalability, security, and storage. Cloud computing lets one choose the necessary power and features needed to run software, while only paying for resources used without needing to take responsibility for hardware maintenance. Cloud service providers offer various services, but the fundamental services are computation and storage. Around the world, reliance on cloud technologies is rapidly increasing, as cloud computing can offer not only data storage and management, but also seamless collaboration, advanced analytics, and data visualization tools, giving students and academic researchers the computing power they need.
Scientific instruments and sensors are capable of generating data continuously, while computer modelling and simulation programs produce rich datasets. Thus, one of the major challenges for academic researchers today is of data volume and complexity. Universities around the world are increasingly investing in high-performance computing infrastructure, especially in the fields of Astronomy, Genomics and Health. In fact, much of this research would whichould be impossible without cloud computing. However, the continued maintenance, upgrades, and IT resources needed to sustain a physical high-performance computing (HPC) environment for an academic research program are often cost-prohibitive, and have the potential to drain limited research budgets. Moreoever, HPC is not widely accessible, and researchers may lack the necessary IT skills to fully leverage its capabilities, thus limiting them from using such computing resources.
Some training programs are accessible, often through major tech companies, but there is still a major need to bridge the gap between skills and needs; currently there is a 66% gap. These skills increase employability, and also make research more efficient more impactful.
UWC’s eResearch Office is tasked with driving progress for UWC to become a DIR-enabled institution. One of many ways we do this is by raising awareness of opportunities and facilitating access to computational tools and infrastructure that are available for students and researchers. Research teams can benefit from cloud capabilities that are open, flexible, fast, cost-effective, scalable, efficient, and responsive
We have collated a list of Cloud Computing Resources which provides a starting point for researchers and students to explore available resources in this rapidly changing space.