The NSF.gov site is running a video interview with Kate Keahey of the Nimbus project, a cloud computing infrastructure developed at Argonne National Lab.
Nimbus is an example of such an adaptable system. Keahey and her team developed this open source cloud computing infrastructure to allow scientists working on data-intensive research projects to be able to use such virtual machines with a cloud provider. Nimbus also allows users to create multiple virtual machines to complete specific computational jobs that can be deployed throughout the cloud and still work in tandem with each other. This flexibility allows a user to configure a virtual machine and then connect it to resources on a cloud, regardless of who is providing the cloud.
Having this kind of flexibility and on-demand computing power is vital to projects that are extremely data-intensive, such as research efforts in experimental and theoretical physics. Nimbus has already been deployed successfully to support the STAR nuclear physics experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider. When researchers there needed to turn the massive amounts of data they had generated into viable simulations for an international conference, they used Nimbus to create virtual machines that were run through commercial cloud computing providers.