I am a strong advocate of using Cloud Computing in Science. I had talked about it in my post on LHC Computing and, again, when I wrote about Mathematica embracing the clouds. Through Jinesh’s post on AWS Blog, I came across a whitepaper that explains how one can run MATLAB, proprietary technical computing software from Mathworks, on Amazon EC2. The whitepaper can be downloaded here.
MATLAB is a very powerful, although proprietary, tool for running complex numerical computations, data analysis and plotting. It is widely used by academic community for scientific calculations. It is based on a MATLAB language called M-Code and it can be used as an interpretive shell or using a script. The language is very simple but a powerful one. It can be used from simple classical mechanics problems to signal analysis to circuit analysis to chemical engg computations to systems biology. Such a widespread use has resulted in MATLAB being used by more than a million users, mostly in the academia.
With the ability to run MATLAB on EC2, scientists could run parallel computations on a collection of EC2 instances. This will save them valuable grant money and time as they can just fire up the needed EC2 instances, run their programs and shut down the instances as soon as they are done. They need not buy expensive high end computers or wait for their turn to use computing resources in some large research institutions. Use of cloud computing, with its utility nature, can help scientists focus on science instead of worrying about finding the necessary computational resources.
As I have told in my article on LHC computing, I am very much interested in hearing about how scientists use cloud computing in their research work. We strongly welcome comments from such people and encourage them to share their story as guest posts in this blog.