The $32 million Department of Energy project, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is designed to examine cloud computing as a cost-effective and energy-efficient computing paradigm for scientists to accelerate discoveries in various disciplines.
Officials said "cloud computing" refers to a flexible shared pool of configurable computing resources such as networks, servers, storage, applications, services and software to gain efficiency of scale and permit investigators to solve large science problems, while still allowing system software to be configured as needed for individual applications.
"Cloud computing has the potential to accelerate discoveries and enhance collaborations in everything from optimizing energy storage to analyzing data from climate research, while conserving energy and lowering operational costs," said Pete Beckman, who is leading the project. "We know the model works well for business applications, and we are working to make it equally effective for science."
The Illinois and California facilities will be linked by a 100 gigabit-per-second network to enable scientists to use available computing resources regardless of location, officials said.
"In the end, we will know which scientific application domains demonstrate the best performance and what software and processes are necessary for those applications to take advantage of cloud services," Beckman said.