AWS News Blog

AWS in Education

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When I entered college in 1978, the state of the art in campus computing consisted of a room full of IBM 029 Key Punch machines, an IBM 370 Model 168 mainframe, and job queues where my card deck would wait for hours in order to get a few seconds of precious CPU time. Today’s kids have it a lot easier, first with desktop PCs and now with cloud computing providing them access to as many CPU cycles and as much RAM as they need for their class projects and research.

Our new AWS in Education program is designed to allow the academic community to take advantage of the Amazon Web Services for teaching and for research. Educators, academic researchers, students, and student entrepreneurs from all over the world can apply for free AWS usage credits in the form of teaching grants, research grants, and project grants. Read on to learn more about what we’ve put together.


We are supporting Researchers by providing selected research projects with grants. The grants offer free access to all of the AWS infrastructure services, giving researchers access to large amounts of compute power and storage in the AWS cloud. Researchers can focus on their work, avoiding the need to specify, procure, purchase, install, and operate hardware.

We will evaluate academic research support proposals from active faculty at accredited colleges and universities throughout the year here, review them with care, and make awards 4 times a year. The next deadline is May 15th; recipients will be notified on June 5th.

We’ve already made grants to the University of Oxford‘s Malaria Atlas project and the RAD Lab at the University of California Berkeley.

Educators have access to Teaching Grants so that they can use AWS in their courses on topics like distributed computing, artificial intelligence, data structures and the like. The grants provide educators with up to $100 in AWS usage credits per eligible student. Educators from accredited universities can apply for a grant by filling out this form. An active AWS account is a prerequisite; we can support one or two concurrent classes per educator.

The Teaching Grants can be used for coursework and for student projects. Supported AWS services include Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon SQS, Amazon CloudFront, and Amazon Elastic MapReduce.

Courses are already underway at several universities including the University of Maryland and Harvard.

Students, student organizations and students working on entrepreneurial class projects can apply for grants here. Individual students can use AWS for self-directed learning using our tutorials on asynchronous messaging, consensus algorithms with EC2, priority queues with SQS, data with SimpleDB, and REST with S3.

We’re already supporting Project Olympus at CMU and Teams In Engineering Service (TIES) at UCSD.

I should also mention that we have full-time, intern, and co-op opportunities at Amazon, and that we’d be thrilled to bring in students who already have some significant working experience with AWS. After nearly seven years at Amazon I can tell you that this is really great place to work. You get to solve hard problems in an fast-paced while working with the best and brightest people in the industry.

Finally, IT Professionals on campus can also take advantage of cloud computing. We’re working with a number of AWS education solution providers:

Moonwalk specializes in large-scale data management solutions. Their products are used in the Banking, Healthcare, Government, R&D, Education, and Aerospace indudstries.

Sonian provides educational institutions with a secure, scalable and affordable hosted Email Archiving and eDiscover service running within the AWS cloud.


I’m thrilled that we are able to support more of the great work that’s taking place on college and university campuses around the world; I look forward to hearing about some great success stories!

— Jeff;

Jeff Barr

Jeff Barr

Jeff Barr is Chief Evangelist for AWS. He started this blog in 2004 and has been writing posts just about non-stop ever since.