Today, February 4, Microsoft and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a collaborative project where Microsoft will offer individual researchers and research groups (selected through NSF's merit review process) free access to advanced client-plus-cloud computing including Windows Azure. By extending the capabilities of powerful, easy-to-use PC applications via Microsoft cloud services, this project aims to shift the focus from infrastructure to empowerment to broaden researcher capabilities, foster collaborative research communities, and accelerate scientific discovery. You can read the press release here: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2010/feb10/02-04NSFPR.mspx
Today, scientists are operating in a world dominated by data, thanks to increasingly inexpensive sensors and a growing trend toward collaborative data projects, yet analyzing and synthesizing this mass of data has remained a challenge. Massive, highly efficient cloud infrastructures, such as those possible with Windows Azure Platform, can transform how research is conducted and accelerate scientific exploration and discovery by making simple yet powerful tools available that any researcher can use to extract insights by mining and combining diverse data sets.
Under the terms of the project, Microsoft will provide NSF grant recipients with access to Windows Azure for a three-year period, along with a support team to help researchers quickly integrate cloud technology into their research. Microsoft researchers and developers will work with grant recipients to equip them with a set of common tools, applications and data collections that can be shared with the broad academic community, and also provide its expertise in research, science, and cloud computing. To learn more about this project, read the related feature story, "Democratizing Research: How "Client Plus Cloud" Computing Can Amplify What's Possible for Scientists."
Grants will be awarded through a program managed by the NSF. More details about funding opportunities are available at http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=CISE.