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Europe’s Leading Public-Private Partnership for Cloud

The Helix Nebula Initiative is a partnership between industry, space and science to establish a dynamic ecosystem, benefiting from open cloud services for the seamless integration of science into a business environment. Today, the partnership counts over 40 public and private partners.

European labs set sights on continent-wide computing cloud, article on Nature

Giant public–private computing network would fulfil the European Commission’s vision of an open-research platform.

From astronomy to genomics, scientists are increasingly storing and studying their data sets on shared remote ‘cloud’ computing servers, accessed through the Internet. Three of Europe’s biggest research labs now want to help academics by working with commercial firms to create a continent-wide cloud-computing portal — and they are hoping to get backing from the European Commission.

Many researchers find cloud computing to be more flexible and efficient than buying expensive hardware — they can rent servers from firms such as Amazon and Google when they need a burst of power for an intensive computation, for example (see Nature 522, 115–116; 2015). Despite the advantages, some academics are concerned about security and reliability when storing their data on outside servers, says Bob Jones, a computer scientist at CERN, Europe’s particle-physics lab near Geneva, Switzerland.

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Helix Nebula is a new, pioneering partnership between leading IT providers and four of Europe’s biggest research centres, CERN, EMBL, ESA and PIC, charting a course towards sustainable cloud services for the research communities - the Science Cloud.