Argonne National Laboratory

Foster coauthors new book on cloud computing

October 12, 2017

A new book titled Cloud Computing for Science and Engineering, by Ian Foster and Dennis B. Gannon, has been published by MIT Press.

Foster is an Argonne Distinguished Fellow and senior scientist in the Mathematics and Computer Science Division. He is also the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Computer Science at the University of Chicago. Gannon is Emeritus Professor of Computer Science at Indiana University Bloomington.

The book provides an introduction to cloud computing, describing new technologies underlying the cloud and their use in tackling scientific and engineering problems. It addresses issues such as managing data in the cloud, deploying virtual machines, and cloud security.

“We want this book to be a practical guide, providing information that can help users decide whether cloud computing is right for them,” said Foster. “Users have lots of questions: How do I program services in the cloud? Is it better to use a cloud or a cluster for my work? How can I build my own cloud? Can I use the cloud to analyze streaming data? Our new book provides answers to many such questions.”

Foster acknowledges that cloud utilities are almost ubiquitous in today’s society and that many scientists and engineers already use the cloud for services such as GitHub. But, Foster argues, researchers are not taking full advantage of the benefits of cloud computing.

“Clouds can help accelerate scientific discovery,” Foster says. “We wrote this book precisely for that reason – to enable researchers to use the cloud more effectively.” To this end, the book presents a wide range of methods and tools, links to online demos and exercises, and hands-on examples, packaged as Jupyter notebooks, available on a website.


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