At a workshop hosted by RCUK in July 2010 delegates from across academia explored the opportunities of cloud computing for research as well as the barriers to its wider exploitation by researchers in the UK (see the report of the workshop on the Research Councils Workshop on Cloud Computing for Research page on the RCUK website). Many of these issues are also highlighted in two recent studies supported by JISC (Using Cloud Computing for Research and Technical Review of Cloud Computing for Research).
The barriers identified at the RCUK Cloud Workshop included: the heterogeneity of cloud platforms and the absence of standards; the lack of benchmarking information about the various commercial cloud platforms; issues around the licensing of software; issues of privacy, ethics and security particularly in relation to data management and storage; the portability of tools and data to and from different cloud platforms; uncertainties in prediction of the cost of research activities utilising cloud; lack of education and training about cloud computing methods; and, the absence of software tools, methods and platforms for researchers to properly exploit the cloud.
The aim of this programme is to further explore the potential for cloud computing as a platform for research, with a focus on engineering and the physical sciences. As well as to encourage new users to the cloud, the programme also aims to enable the UK research community to further explore the issues raised at the RCUK Cloud Workshop. To this end, EPSRC and JISC will be hosting a workshop in summer 2011 in order to share the results of the pilot projects and the lessons learned, and to discuss best practice.
The programme is jointly managed by EPSRC and JISC. For general questions on the programme contact Matthew Davis (EPSRC), and for all website related issues Torsten Reimer (JISC):
Dr Louise Tillman, Senior Portfolio Manager, Research Infrastructure, EPSRC
Tel.: +44 17 93 44 45 10; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Torsten Reimer, Programme Manager, Digital Infrastructure, JISC
Tel.: +44 20 30 06 60 34; Email: email@example.com