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Blog Archives

New book: Cloud Computing for Science and Engineering

I am excited to announce the availability of Cloud Computing for Science and Engineering, a new book written by Dennis Gannon and myself and published by MIT Press. The full text is also available online at, along with associated Jupyter notebooks and other supporting material.

Clouds operated by Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and others provide convenient on-demand access to storage and computing. They also provide powerful services for organizing data, processing data streams, machine learning, and many other tasks. Every scientist and engineer needs to understand what these services can and cannot do,

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Economics of platforms: Implications for cyberinfrastructure

I recommend an interesting paper by Glen Weyl and Alexander White, “Let the Best ‘One’ Win: Policy Lessons from the New Economics of Platforms.”  The abstract summarizes the message:

The primary policy problem in platform markets is usually considered to be excessive lock-in to a potentially inefficient dominant platform. We argue that, once one accounts for sophisticated platform pricing strategies, such concerns are overblown. Instead the greater market failure is excessive fragmentation and insufficient participation. These problems, in turn, call for a very different policy response: aiding winners in taking all,

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Why not store personal health information in the cloud?

At the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Chicago, my colleague Bob Grossman organized what was by all accounts a fascinating session on How Big Data Supports Biomedical Discovery. It being a Saturday, I had family duties. But I read with interest a synopsis of remarks made by speaker Lincoln Stein: “Legal and ethical issues with using commercial cloud vendors for cancer data. If Comcast buys Amazon, who owns data?” (As you can tell by the abbreviated style, this remark was communicated by Twitter.)

Lincoln published in 2010 The Case for Moving Genome Informatics to the Cloud,

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