What does it mean to do science in the cloud, and where is it going? These questions were the topic of a public lecture delivered by Google’s manager for computational science, Joe Hellerstein. During his visit to Ann Arbor on April 26, Hellerstein addressed a crowd of 100 faculty, staff and students, providing a high-level overview of current Google cloud services and hinting at directions Google may take in the realm of computational science. Due to a blanket non-disclosure agreement with the university, Hellerstein limited his comments in the general forum, but offered to meet privately with researchers interested in hearing more details.
In his talk, Hellerstein discussed how the science community can leverage Google’s experience over the last 10 years with massive data sets and building scalable infrastructure. “The starting point [of Google cloud services] may be more cycles, or cheaper cycles. But what it leads to rapidly is a fundamental change in the way we do discovery. We have an opportunity for sharing, reproducibility, and collaboration that we don’t have today with our normal mechanisms,” said Hellerstein. He went on to provide case studies of how scientists at Google are using cloud tools, and he shared his thoughts on possible opportunities that could stem from using the cloud for scientific discovery.
The slides and audio from Hellerstein’s public lecture are available here.