Photo: Atlas Ventures
Want to know just how far cloud computing has come? Last month, cancer research scientists built an entire supercomputer on Amazon.It was so big it cost nearly $5,000 an hour to run, reports Ars Technica.
The supercomputer was built by researchers at Schrödinger, a company that makes scientific simulation software, and Nimbus Discovery, a startup which does drug research. The scientists were trying to find potential new cancer drugs.
On March 30, they fired up over 6,700 Amazon EC2 instances which together created a 51,132-core computer — each core is basically equivalent to a single computer. This was so big it had to run on Amazon’s data centres around the globe. As amazing as that sounds, such a supercomputer can be built by anyone who knows how to do such things, without ever talking to anyone at Amazon, reports Ars. This is because they tapped into a cloud service by Cycle Computing, a company that creates supercomputers on Amazon’s cloud.
Here’s the best part. The researchers also ran their drug-finding tests simultaneously on their own in-house supercomputer, just to compare how the Amazon cloud performed. Amazon did the job better — helped them find more potential drugs.