Recently Conference Chair Wolfgang Gentzsch interviewed Ian Foster about his keynote on the state of HPC cloud computing:
I am delighted to be invited to speak at ISC Cloud’11, because it gives me an opportunity to speak to my current passion, which is the vital role that software as a service (SaaS) can play in accelerating discovery. Most discussion of computational science (“HPC”) and cloud emphasizes on-demand computing and storage. But if we focus on hardware alone, we miss the real benefits of the large-scale outsourcing and consequent economies of scale that cloud is about. The biggest IT challenge facing research today is complexity. Certainly, big data demands new storage and computing solutions. But it is establishing and operating the processes required to collect, manage, analyze, share, and archive big data that is taking all of our time and killing creativity. And that’s where outsourcing can be transformative. An entrepreneur can run a small business from a coffee shop, outsourcing essentially every business function–accounting, payroll, customer relationship management, the works–to a SaaS provider. Why can’t a young researcher do the same, and run a research lab from a coffee shop? That’s the question I will pose in my keynote.
ISC Cloud’11 concludes today in Mannheim.