On-demand computing, often known as “cloud computing” provides access to the computing power of a large data center without having to maintain an in-house high performance computing (HPC) cluster, with attendent management and maintenance costs. As even the most casual observers of the tech world will know, cloud computing is growing in any many sectors of the economy, including scientific research. Cheap “computing as a utility” has the potential to bring many large-scale analyses within reach of smaller organizations that may lack the means or infrastructure to run a traditional HPC. These organizations or individuals could include smaller clinics, hospitals, colleges, non-profit organizations and even individual independent researchers or groups of researchers. But beyond the industry enthusiasm, how much can cloud computing really help enable low-cost scientific analyses?
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