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This is a really good example of how cloud computing can benefit scientific research. As a researcher myself (and one who's looking forward to making use of the Gaia dataset) using EC2 is an extremely efficient way to use my computing budget. My computing needs vary from near zero for long periods of time while new algorithms are being developed then ramp up to requiring hundreds of instances over short periods to perform calculations rapidly. Maintaining my own cluster would be economically impractical, but using EC2 allows me to buy the computing I need when I need it.

Ian Foster

Ioan Raicu has done a lot of work with dynamic resource provisioning for analysis of astronomy data. He uses grid resources (e.g., TeraGrid) for the most part, but the methods would translate directly to EC2. See, for example:

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