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Compiler 5/6/13: TEDxCERN Edition

By Rob Mitchum // May 6, 2013


We were thrilled to spend Friday morning with the folks at TEDxCERN via webcast, enjoying fascinating talks by CI director Ian Foster and several other amazing scientists and educators. Foster’s talk focused on “The Discovery Cloud,” the idea that many complex and time-consuming research tasks can be moved to cloud-based tools, freeing up scientists to accelerate the pace of discovery. We’ll post the video when it’s up, but for now, enjoy this great animation produced for the conference by TED-Ed explaining grid computing, cloud computing and big data.



Speaking of CERN, ISGTW ran a lengthy profile of the computing grid that powers the particle physics research on their Large Hadron Collider. In the three years since the LHC started running, it has produced 70 petabytes of data, which is subsequently distributed around the world to over 150 sites for coordinated and parallel analysis. As Wired wrote back in 2004, the LHC grid was built on Globus Toolkit, created by Ian Foster and Carl Kesselman, “the Lewis and Clark of grid computing.”

Some of the science-as-a-service ideas Foster discussed in his TEDxCERN talk were brought up a week earlier by Renee DiResta in O’Reilly Radar. Companies that provide 3D microscopic scanning, data platforms for computational biology or drug discovery and even connections with freelance scientists are featured.

Computation is eating science, and that’s a good thing…but funding agencies and researchers need to change or be digested, writes Will Schroeder at Kitware.

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