Science in the Cloud

Biology has this notorious way of lagging behind technology and industry by a few years. Not in everything, mind you. We still know more about the latest molecular techniques than many, many businesses. But more in the information management sense. Yes, our scientists – like me – may be programmers. But we aren't always up-to-date, and it can really show.

I'm currently using a program called SORTIE-ND to run forest models. Like many other scientific modeling programs, SORTIE-ND loads what it needs into local memory and runs as fast as it can without taking up 100% or destroying the hard drive. But it is constrained by the computing power of the unit that it is installed on. There's no easy way to send it up into the cloud.

Now, I doubt I'll be the one to do it. But wouldn't it be cool? If we could use a distributed file and data system, a set of servers, to run scientific code? If we could have our answer in minutes instead of hours?

These are the things to look forward to.


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