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Today at Supercomputing 2010 in New Orleans, Microsoft announced the release of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) BLAST on Windows Azure, a new application that enables a broader community of scientists to combine desktop resources with the power of cloud computing for critical biological research. NCBI Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) on Windows Azure provides a user-friendly Web interface and access to Windows Azure cloud computing for very large BLAST computations, as well as smaller-scale operations.

Bob Muglia, president, Server and Tools at Microsoft sums up the key benefit for researchers best, “NCBI BLAST on Windows Azure shows how the platform provides the genuine Platform-as-a-Service capabilities that technical computing applications need in order to extract insights from massive data and help solve some of the world’s biggest challenges across science, business and government.”

The NCBI BLAST on Windows Azure software is available from Microsoft at no cost and Windows Azure resources are available at no charge to many researchers through Microsoft’s Global Cloud Computing Research Engagement Initiative. To learn more about technical computing in the cloud, you should check out the latest posts from Bill Hilf, director of Platform Strategy at Microsoft and Dan Reed, corporate vice president, Technology Policy and Strategy and eXtreme Computing Group at Microsoft.  Dan’s post also includes a great video with Dan where he discusses the tremendous opportunity with the cloud.

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