Microsoft, NSF team up in the clouds

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Microsoft and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have agreed to offer free access to advanced cloud computing resources to individual researchers and research groups selected through NSF's merit review process.

The program is designed to help broaden research capabilities, and foster collaborative research communities and scientific discovery, according to Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash. The NSF will award and manage the projects.

Microsoft will provide cloud computing research projects identified by NSF with access to Windows Azure for a three-year period, along with a support team to help researchers integrate cloud technology into their research, the company stated.

Windows Azure provides on-demand computing and storage to host, scale and manage Web applications through Microsoft data centers, the company said. Microsoft researchers and developers will work with grant recipients to equip them with a set of common tools, applications and data collections that can be shared with the academic community, the company stated.