Microsoft’s cloud-computing program will allow researchers to compare and analyze numerous data sets, said Jeannette M. Wing, assistant director for the NSF Computer and Information Science directorate.
A Harvard University computer science course used Amazon Web Services cloud computing network that allowed 330 instructors see student work without making students go through a complex process that included eMailing computer code. Cloud computing streamlined an otherwise bulky and time-consuming process, Harvard officials said.
IBM’s Academic Initiative web site also allows member schools to share courseware covering a wide swath of curriculum focuses. For example, North Carolina State University made its “Managing the Digital Enterprise” material available for free on the IBM site.
The courseware covers intellectual property, web analytics, business models, channel conflict, and data privacy. Material is separated into beginner lessons and more advanced teachings for experienced students.
Higher education has increased its reliance and cloud computing in recent years, but security questions persist. Cornell University released a report on cloud computing last month that urges colleges to create a “baseline” of security measures when using off-site servers that will store sensitive student and faculty information.
“It is … all the more imperative that colleges and universities collaboratively create a consensus around a baseline set of standards to render outsourcing a viable choice and to create competition within the marketplace for those vendors most willing to tailor their services to the specific needs of higher education,” the Cornell report said.
Doering from the University of Minnesota said college officials’ lingering skepticism of cloud computing is predictable, but could recede as the benefits of the cloud become more evident.
“It is simply the climate of academia to debate and challenge the norm, which is a good thing,” he said.
Cornell University report on cloud computing
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