2U, Inc., is revolutionizing higher education by collaborating with leading universities to take their degrees online. To support collaboration and learning, the company’s technology platform has to be able to cache data that grows exponentially as students communicate with instructors and with each other. By building on AWS and running Amazon ElastiCache and other AWS services, 2U is able to cache data effortlessly for fast social interaction among users and focus its resources on innovation instead of infrastructure.
Baylor needed a cost-efficient, easily maintainable solution that would enable it to provide safe, effective worldwide collaboration without delays caused by setting up a physical infrastructure. “We didn’t have months to spend on setting up an infrastructure, and we needed to be able to share the data efficiently, interactively, and securely,” Veeraraghavan says.
The solution needed to be flexible enough to meet clinical standards and HIPAA requirements, as well. “Once we put all our cards on the table, we naturally gravitated toward DNAnexus and the AWS Cloud.”
Learn more about how Baylor uses the AWS Cloud.
“Project Olympus is a new initiative designed to create and sustain Next Generation Computing innovation for Western Pennsylvania. Our vertical search engine spider is a time-sensitive application that requires bursts of increased computing power. Amazon Web Services helped us quickly leverage the power of cloud computing to meet the demands of our project.”
—David E. Chen, undergraduate student studying Information Systems and Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University
Running on AWS, Code.org was able to launch the Hour of Code campaign during CSEdWeek as planned. “Our goal was 10 million students and we had 20 million participants,” says Elliott. “Running on the AWS Cloud gave us the elasticity to keep the website running when traffic spiked from zero to 20 million coders during campaign week, and then scale back efficiently. AWS was fantastic.”
Learn more on how Code.org used AWS to focus on goals instead of infrastructure.
“In fall 2008, we moved Harvard’s introductory computer science course, CS 50, into the cloud. Rather than continue to rely on our own instructional computing infrastructure on campus, we created a load-balanced cluster of virtual machines for our 330 students within Amazon EC2. Our goals were both technical and pedagogical. As computer scientists, we wanted more control over our course’s infrastructure (e.g., root access), so that we ourselves could install software at will and respond to problems at any hour. As teachers, we wanted easier access to our students’ work as well as the ability to grow and shrink our infrastructure as problem sets’ computational requirements demanded. But we also wanted to integrate into the course’s own syllabus discussion of scalability, virtualization, multi-core processing, and cloud computing itself. What better way to teach topics like those than to have students actually experience them.”
—David J. Malan, Lecturer on Computer Science, Harvard University
“Translational Science is a fast paced activity that spans whole genome sequencing to clinical interpretation of individual SNPs with an ultimate objective of validation and assimilation of newly discovered genetic and molecular knowledge and tests into the clinical enterprise. My lab (lpm.hms.harvard.edu) and our collaborators take advantage of the Amazon Web Services flexibility to conduct a broad range of ‘experiments’ in translational science hosted by Dennis Wall and myself at the Center for Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School.”
—Peter J. Tonellato, Ph.D., Center for Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School
Mining information from terabytes of genomic data—and making sure that information is secure—calls for a flexible, high-performance platform with big-data storage and stringent access control. It was clearly a job for cloud computing.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the foundation for Station X’s genomics platform, GenePool, which can dynamically scale to analyze tens of thousands of genomes in minutes. “AWS is a natural place to build software environments,” says Sandeep Sanga, Vice President of Products at Station X. “We built GenePool on AWS to give researchers a place to manage and analyze enormous amounts of data. And we chose AWS because the number of services offered is so competitive.” Using AWS allowed Station X to focus on designing the GenePool platform to help researchers quickly and securely understand their sequenced data.
Learn more about how Mount Sinai researchers use the AWS Cloud.
Switching to AWS meant that the university could rely on multiple Availability Zones to provide resiliency in case of a natural disaster—and would provide the on-demand scalability that the school needed during bursts of traffic to its website.
Learn how Notre Dame uses three different Availability Zones.
UCAS is the UK’s only service for students to apply to higher education. Once a year, when it releases its A-Level results, the company sees massive surges to users logging into its website. By using AWS for flexible capacity, the company can scale its servers to accommodate demand and then scale back down to normal loads—while paying only for what it needs.
Learn more on how UCAS manages massive web traffic surges using AWS.
“Using AWS for our Web 2.0 Application Development courses has been a phenomenal resource. Administration was so easy that students were able to get their projects deployed quickly, and venture capitalists attending the final project demos were impressed at the level of polish and creativity that a small student team could produce in just a few weeks.”
—Armando Fox, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of California at Berkeley
“The generous grant we have received from the AWS in Education program will dramatically increase the reach of my student group’s collaboration with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) to develop distributed assistive computer vision technology for the visually impaired.”
—Serge Belongie, Associate Professor, University of California, San Diego
“Thanks to the generous support of Amazon Web Services, students were provided AWS access through my teaching grant which they applied to coursework. The ability to provision Hadoop clusters on-demand gave students hands-on experience with utility computing and provided a vehicle for completing coursework and a final project.”
—Jimmy Lin, Associate Professor, University of Maryland, College Park
“The Malaria Atlas Project is an ambitious collaboration between international malaria scientists with one specific aim: to make detailed global maps of malaria to help drive the fight against the disease. The Malaria Atlas project team has already defined the transmission limits (the boundary of malaria‚s geographic extent), and have recently published the most detailed global maps of risk ever produced. The next goal is to map how malaria‚s burden of death and disease varies across the globe — current knowledge is surprisingly patchy and this hampers efforts to target funds and resources to the people that need them most. “All models use top-end spatial statistics, and these don't come cheap when you’re mapping things down to 5×5km pixels across the whole world. Up to now, computation and storage have been major restrictions, placing constraints on the models we're able to run. Our research grant from Amazon Web Services means we now have access to the kind of serious parallel processing that we need to implement model runs in feasible timescales and the storage to deal with the massive model output.”
—Dr. Pete Gething, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford.
“AWS gives our MS in Analytics and computer science student’s access to resources that would otherwise be difficult to fund at a school of our size. Moreover, the management console makes it really easy for instructors to manage resources for the students. Finally, DynamoDB lets us build NoSQL databases that would not fit on a student machine and Elastic MapReduce means we don’t have to struggle with installing Hadoop.”
—Prof. Terence Parr, Graduate Program Director in Computer Science
“AWS is a great fit for 3 Day Startup, an event where 40 student entrepreneurs take a web startup from the drawing board to a launched prototype in 60 intense hours. With Amazon”s EC2 and Amazon’s S3 technology on our side, we can go live in minutes without worrying about configuration, reliability, and most importantly, scalability.”
—Thomas Finsterbusch, PhD candidate, the University of Texas, Austin