Outsourcing Science: Will the Cloud Transform Research?

Friday, 14 February 2014: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Acapulco (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), also known as “software on demand,” is a software delivery model in which software and associated data are located in the cloud rather than a user’s desktop or institution. First proposed as a cost reduction mechanism, SaaS has been widely adopted in industry as a disruptive technology. Businesses operate fundamentally differently today than just five years ago because of the rise of SaaS. Startups, larger companies, and consumers all outsource major information management and manipulation tasks to cloud providers. This symposium investigates the question of whether, how, and when a similar transformation may occur in science. In principle, challenging needs and limited budgets should create strong pressures for outsourcing many research functions—driving, perhaps, the complete relocation of laboratories to the cloud. In practice, we see far less adoption of such technologies in the research community. Is this limited adoption due to fundamental properties of science or alternatively to complacency, conservatism, funding models, and/or university bureaucracy? The answer likely contains shades of all these theories and many more. This symposium brings together pioneers in the research SaaS field to discuss what has worked and what has not, and to identify challenges going forward.
Ian Foster, Argonne National Laboratory
Elizabeth Iorns, Science Exchange, Inc.
A Science Services Marketplace
Gerhard Klimeck, Purdue University
Scientific Simulation Software as a Service