Venus-C Project – Virtual Multidisciplinary EnviroNments USing Cloud Infrastructures

Mission

Cloud computing has the potential to transform scientific exploration, discovery and results by empowering research and SME communities in new ways. VENUS-C (Virtual Multidisciplinary EnviroNments USing Cloud Infrastructures) is pioneering project for the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme that draws its strength from a joint co-operation between industry and scientific user communities.

VENUS-C aims to develop, test and deploy an industry-quality, highly-scalable and flexible Cloud infrastructure to empower researchers through the easy deployment of end-user services. The VENUS-C platform is underpinned by Windows Azure, resources from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, Sweden) and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC, Spain), Microsoft European data centres and the data centre of the Engineering Group. Azure offers a multi-layer solution, including computing and storage power, a development environment and immediate services, together with a wide range of services that can be consumed from either on-premises environments or over the Internet. From an Open Source perspective, EMOTIVE and OpenNebula solutions are being implemented.
VENUS-C user scenarios stem from seven partner affiliations developing applications for the Cloud across four thematic areas: Biomedicine, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Civil Protection and Emergencies, and Marine Biodiversity Data. VENUS-C has also provided seed funds for 15 pilots with applications spanning biology, bioinformatics, chemistry, earth sciences, maritime surveillance, mathematics, medicine and healthcare, physics and social media.

Funding

VENUS-C is co-funded by the GÉANT and e-Infrastructure Unit, DG Information Society and Media of the European Commission, as one of six European Distributed Computing Infrastructures (DCIs). VENUS-C is committed to working in synergy with these initiatives, combining experiences in Grid infrastructures and Cloud computing to capitalise on EU investments. VENUS-C brings together 14 European partners. Microsoft invests in Azure resources and manpower through Redmond and its European research centres.

The Cloud4Trends pilot

The OSWINDS research group participates in the Venus-C project with the Cloud4Trends pilot application. The research scope of Cloud4Trends is the real-time analysis and the exploitation of the user-contributed content in Web 2.0 microblogging and blogging platforms. In particular, the main aim of Cloud4Trends is: i) the development and distribution of a high-quality service for the real-time detection of trending topics / issues that interest and are discussed by the users of specific geographic areas, as well as ii) the investigation and verification of the suitability of cloud computing infrastructures as platforms for such services, considering the benefits the offer.

The application will operate on top of a cloud computing infrastructure and it will: i) constantly consume new data from Twitter, as well as from a selection of blogs, focusing on specific geographic areas, e.g. at city ​​level, and then ii) apply a clustering technique on posts to detect recent trends in the issues that concern users. The project involves the identification of current trends utilizing Twitter posts (tweets) and blog posts individually, but also by a set of tweets whose content has been enriched by the blog entries which they cite. An additional challenge is therefore to investigate and identify the differences in the type of information and also in how these are propagated via the various Web 2.0 platforms. The research results of Cloud4Trends, as well as the current trends per geographic area, will be made available to interested groups such as: researchers, entrepreneurs, social organizations and decision makers through a user-friendly web service.

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