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Richard Moulds

Cloud Computing Will Produce The Next Mark Zuckerberg

The Next Mark Zuckerberg

The next king or queen of science and technology will come from the cloud, I predict. Budding geniuses wanting to make a name for themselves must master cloud computing. Naysayers wag their fingers with conservative statements like “the cloud is far too new to generate history-making change. Not just yet.” My opinion? Fooey.

Cloud computing is new but not nascent. It’s an open frontier just waiting for a brazen cowboy to stand up as sheriff. I doubt we’ll all be moving from Facebook to “Cloud”-Book anytime soon. Yet ignoring the potential for such exciting developments requires ignoring the concrete facts about what’s happening this very day.

Detractors will argue that sufficient knowledge on how the cloud works doesn’t yet exist for an upstart to plan a tech takeover. Yet higher education is already embracing the cloud in recognition of its irrefutable promise intellectually and economically. Hewlett-Packard, in association with NUI Galway in Ireland, will offer qualified students a Masters of Science Degree in Cloud Computing Research, to begin this September.

Those who conceived this program aptly recognized that cloud brims with potential to launch plentiful new jobs and surmount the certain challenges of infrastructure which will vex ill-prepared businesses in the future. “[This cloud education will help in] sustaining Ireland’s smart economy ahead of the curve, and in the creation of high-value employment within Ireland,” said Dr Chris Coughlan, head of HP’s cloud.

But Ireland will hardly stand alone as a country to benefit from increased cloud scholarship. Several of America’s supercomputer-powered government laboratories foresee an opening in cloud computing’s floodgates. The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center recently conducted a three-year investigation into how the cloud could potentially assist the Department of Energy (DOE).

They titled that investigation “Magellan,” whose final report concluded that, although “DOE centers are cost effective when compared with public clouds,” “the gap between” their resources and cloud computing “will begin to close” rapidly. Such a finding should serve as incentive for a brilliant mind searching for an opportunity to ignite progress in technology, not simply surf along already cresting waves (like virtualization and social media).

In-the-know tech geeks acknowledge an indelible and symbiotic relationship with tech’s sister, science. Where technology flourishes, so will science, and vice versa. Some of the most thrilling expeditions to come in modern science will harness cloud computing as their vessel. Europe’s most substantial authorities — the European Space Agency (ESA), CERN, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory — will cannonball into new frontiers via the “Science Cloud.”

This is a brand-new cloud computing platform that will equip these organizations to expand their research in a trio of dynamic forays: little-understood particles like “hadrons” and Higgs boson; mammalian genome projects; and, no big deal at all, only “the biggest mysteries of the universe.” These forays will rewrite textbooks. Those who enlist with them, and who dare to dive headlong into the cloud, might just engrave their names alongside these breakthroughs.

Thinking of the idea of the breakthrough reminds me of “The Social Network,” and how that movie galvanized so many disparate communities: tech geeks, film nerds, big-shot wannabes, and young hard-working dreamers. “Social Network” was more than classic cinema; it was a crystal ball.

I urge you to re-read the above paragraphs. Let the propensity of these events soak in thoroughly. Some gifted youngster will take after the film’s Zuckerberg, though not via social networking. You can only interpret a proper glance of that crystal ball in one description: cloudy.

By Jeff Norman

About Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.