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Researchers Gain Free Access to Microsoft Cloud Resources

Scientists in Japan will be gaining free access to cloud computing resources in a joint grant program set up between Microsoft and Japan's National Institute of Informatics. The initiative is part of a project being promoted by the institute to encourage researchers to explore the use of the cloud for supporting data retrieval from new kinds of information systems that require high performance computing.

Microsoft will be donating access to its cloud computing and storage service, Windows Azure, to researchers participating in a project called the "New IT Infrastructure for the Information-Explosion Era." Microsoft staff will provide cloud-oriented expertise and work with grant recipients in the use of common tools, applications, and data collections that can be shared with the broad academic community.

The latest partnership mirrors one announced earlier in 2010 by Microsoft with the National Science Foundation. In that agreement, the company began providing individual researchers and teams of researchers with cloud computing resources by way of an application process managed by the NSF.

"It is essential that future academic research should form strong 'symbiotic style' relationships with other academic areas," said Masao Sakauchi, director general at the institute. "Cloud computing is a powerful tool that allows researchers to collaborate and share computing resources and research results necessary for this type of collaborative research. I appreciate that Microsoft has given us a valuable opportunity to prove this vision."

"Cloud computing can transform how research is conducted, accelerating scientific exploration, discovery and results," said Dan Reed, corporate vice president for technology strategy and policy and director of the eXtreme Computing Group in Microsoft Research. "These grants will also help researchers explore rich and diverse multidisciplinary data sets on a large scale."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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