Cloud Computing could be a disruptive force driving Global Knowledge,Innovation and Economic development

Business Week recently published an interesting article “College Grads Need Skills, Not Liberal Arts” .  The Crux of the article is about the fact that U.S. economy has  been significantly driven by innovation, with high-tech research, development, and commercialization spurring economic growth with reliance largely on the universities as the training grounds for the high-tech workforce.

But to compete and succeed in a global economy, it says,universities must do more than simply impart knowledge and offer specialized courses of study that teach students how to create knowledge, innovate, and forge new pathways. An example of students capitalizing on specialized degrees is in the field of nanotechnology is cited.The National Science Foundation projects that the U.S. will require at least 2 million nanotech-savvy scientists, researchers, engineers, and others by 2014.

I wanted to reflect some of my thoughts on how Cloud computing could help in augmenting knowledge,skills and innovation especially in specialized fields .

Cloud computing can be a catalyst as well as an enabler to drive knowledge and innovation in the emerging areas such as Nanotechnologies and Life sciences. Particularly, in my opinion, Cloud based HPC has a great potential to be a key player in this scenario. I recently wrote that Cloud Computing will commoditise Supercomputing !!

  • Cloud based availability of Commercial or Opensource Engineering and Bio-Sciences Analysis,Design and Simulation Software in an ondemand model at a lower cost and accessible anytime,anywhere lowers the barriers for adoption and usage by the universities, students and researchers and provides greater opportunities for them to practically hone their skills ,augment the knowledge quickly required  for the  commercial scenario and innovate better.
  • Cloud computing provides an elastic capacity and scalability required to run large scale analysis and simulations  required for innovation and product simulations at a drastically lower cost, This is a boon to individuals and educational institutions alike who would want to create the next generation products. For instance in 2009 ,The Magellan team at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs and at Argonne had initiatives to use Cloud for large scale analysis and simulation of Nanophotonics and nano particles. Today , an initiative of similar sorts may be viable by any university’s research Lab! There is a recent  initiative by ETH Zurich’s Institute of Molecular Systems Biology to leverage Cloud computing to discover the next generation antibiotics to combat disease resistant bacteria.
  • Recently with my limited scope, I had enabled an On-demand,Low cost,Virtual ‘Computer aided design and engineering Lab and a Virtual Bio Informatics Lab’ with a hope that potentially some of the several hundred colleges and  several thousand students with limited facilities and funds in India may leverage this to impart or gain practical knowledge and innovate in their academic and innovation pursuits . If I were able to enable and serve such a cause better within my limited resources, I could only imagine about the paradigm shift a more resourceful individual or a group could bring about with Cloud computing!
  • Students and Faculty have significant opportunities to create disruptive cloud based enablers to innovate and bring value in their chosen field of work. One such example that I had come across is a solution to do a large scale “Automated Sequence Analysis” called Clovr,a Portable ,Cloud based software developed by a team at the Institute of  Genomics at the University of Maryland School of medicine.  Clovr is a very powerful and amazing software solution that could potentially help researchers and scientists to get better  insights from large scale DNA Sequencing faster and at  lower investments. Wouldn’t it create a significant impact to develop low cost drugs and a faster time to market? In such a case ,Isnt’ Cloud disruptive?

To Summarise

  • I agree there is a need to arm students with knowledge and skills required for the future! This applies in the Global context.
  • Cloud Computing is a Disruptive force that can significantly help accelerate knowledge and innovation in an academic scenario as well as in a commercial set up.
  • It will be a catalyst and a transformational force to create new products in the emerging/niche areas of Nanotechnology and Life sciences. This should be leveraged well by Universities,Students,Research Scientists and also by Commercial  entities.
  • It has the potential to create new opportunities for Individuals and Institutions and alike and helps them to create new products and compete well that could potentially alter the economic development of a country!
  • High Performance Computing (HPC) on the Cloud will play a significant role in enabling these. There is a lot to watch this area in the coming days!

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Cloudshoring is a popular blog on Cloud computing and Big data
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