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Big science and business launch European cloud computing

Three large European research centres have teamed up with IT companies across the continent to launch a cloud-computing system.

Europe’s particle physics laboratory Cern, the European Space Agency and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory will work together with hi-tech companies including Capgemini, Telefonica and Thales to establish a shared high-performance cloud-computing infrastructure.

The system, called “Helix Nebula—the Science Cloud”, will make it easier for scientists to share data and work on joint projects from remote locations. It will be made available to government organisations and industry after a two-year pilot phase.

Helix Nebula will first be tested as part of three science projects at each research organisation.

Firstly, Cern’s Atlas experiment will use Helix Nebula to process the huge amount of data coming from the Large Hadron Collider in its search for the Higgs Boson.

Secondly, the EMBL will use the system to speed up the analyses of large genomes, such as those from mammals.

Lastly, ESA, together with research centres in France, Germany and Italy, will use Helix Nebula to study earthquakes and volcanoes.

Additional science organisations and private service providers can join the system at a later stage.