Microsoft has announced partnerships with three Australian research organisations, including National ICT Australia (NICTA), the Australian National University (ANU) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), with the aim to provide researchers with Cloud computing resources and support.
The grants will provide the organisations with three years of free access to Microsoft’s Windows Azure Cloud computing technology, in addition to technical support and client tools.
The supported projects will explore a range of topics, including the analysis of online social networks, a cloud-based geophysical imaging platform, computational chemistry and other e-science applications.
NICTA Cloud computing research project leader, Dr. Anna Liu, said the organisation would use the technology to study patterns in social network usage and to explore reasoning of structured data on the Web.
“This is a unique opportunity for us to conduct these studies at an unprecedented scale, so that we can address difficult real-world problems, such as those associated with the collection, management and sharing of information in large e-health systems,” Liu said in a statement.
“The results will potentially enable businesses to adopt more effective strategies and ultimately enhance collaboration and productivity in the workplace.”
The grants will also benefit the ANU and the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), says NCI director, Lindsay Botten.
“These new resources will open up exciting opportunities for solving data-intensive research problems in novel ways, increase the diversity of tools available to researchers and allow NCI to explore ways of migrating advanced computational services into the cloud,” he said.
According to CSIRO’s ICT centre director, Dr. Ian Oppermann, the partnership will enable the organisation to receive resources to support a project focusing on transport and logistics.
“Having this staggering computing power available to us in one spot is a wonderful opportunity for our scientists,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what our imaging, modelling and simulation researchers will do with this much raw power at their fingertips.”
The partnerships are a part of Microsoft’s Global Cloud Research Engagement Initiative, which launched earlier this year.
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