IBM, Harvard tap compute cloud for solar research

Interesting example of using the Cloud for the collective good-

Excerpt from:;newsNow

Harvard University and IBM have launched a project to harness the computing muscle of thousands of computers to discover cheap solar energy materials.

The initiative, announced Monday, is part of the IBM-sponsored World Community Grid, which seeks to speed up research on humanitarian challenges with a grid of connected computers.

The idea is that people and organizations donate computing time to these efforts. A grid server doles out tasks to disparate machines to speed up computational jobs.

IBM also said that it will test running the grid software on an internal compute cloud to tap idle time.

Existing World Community Grid projects are aimed at developing a more nutritious rice as well as conducting cancer and AIDS research. The Harvard project wants to test the chemical properties of a number of organic materials with the aim of determining which are most promising for use as solar cells.


Strategic Architects Forum 2008-Part II

Strategic Architect Forum
San Francisco Nov 18-20th, 2008

My colleague Ken Efta from Allyis is presenting the Social Commuting within the Enterprise. Ethan is
posting live details on as well so check it out.

Ken put up some great examples of some of benefits but also the risks of bringing cloud based
applications into the enterprise. Ken did a great presentation pointing out examples of solutions
you can start building now in your enterprise.

Seems to me one of take aways is don’t wait for the perfect solution but rather start small and build on
best of breed but also the consider the risks involved and things to consider when opening up your
enterprise to “cloud based computing”.

Also a carryover from yesterday’s presentation is a quick review of the
Enterprise Social Computing slide Solutions Frameworks

Put out there as examples of how you can start putting this to work right now are a solution for
managing standards, call center management for sales, the new Office Business Applications Composer
toolkit which helps IW workers build thier own solutions on the Office System-including easily pulling in
SharePoint data/libraries etc for building workflows without any code.

Also demo’d was the Unified Partner Search Allyis developed as a prototype for MS for not only
providing a rich user interface for partners to search across multiple sources but also layers
a social aspect on top including ratings, shared searches, and ability for users to submit thier
own links to the service-very cool.  This project is dear to my heart given the late nights I
spent coding in Silverlight.  Very impressed with Silverlight as a UI and can see this as a great
way to build UI connected to services especially when time/budget is limited and you want
a more interactive experience simply not possible in traditional web forms.

New Picture1
Unified Partner Search Screenshot

Another interesting demo was a Standards management and collaboration solution using SharePoint
for large legal team-encourages individuals responsible for standards scattered around the globe
to collaborate, read, and submit standards.

An example of how your organization can quickly develop/deploy a solution on SharePoint was the demo
for the Call Center template for SharePoint that provides a cost effective way for employees to share details
about a call-the SharePoint uses the built-in features to store and manage the call questions and call scripts as
adding a social computing capability by allowing callers to rate the questions, make comments, and propose
questions.  The call questions page allows callers to filter the appropriate questions by vertical, competitor, and
role i.e. give me call the questions to ask a customer who is a CEO in the healthcare industry.  This solution was
developed in around a week and is packaged as a generic template that can be deployed as a SharePoint site
template without any server side code or involvement from IT.

OBA Toolkit was demo’d again-see yesterday’s post for more detail.  Cool tool-I interpret the tool as Popfly
for the enterprise but unlike Popfly it makes sure the data and objects presented to the user work with eachother
and are restricted to only the data that should be accessible to the user-don’t want a report on everyone’s salary
popping up on the intranet somewhere right?  This tool can prevent that in this brave new world of providing this
productivity tool to your employees.

Podcasting Kit for SharePoint was demo’d-cool tool so I will be dedicating a post just for this shortly.


Architects Forum-Emerging Web 2.0

Strategic Architect Forum
San Francisco Nov 18-20th, 2008

I attended Rationalizing the Emerging Web this morning..Karthik Ravindran presenter: Here are some things to think about coming out of this to get your company to take advantage of social networking tech?  i.e. Facebook.  Single sign-on for integration across these
services?  What about aggregations?  Business opportunities, IT cost reductions?

Karthik demo’d a services aggregator named Sobees.  Very nice application-feature rich and nice UI but probably doesn’t meet the low
enough bar for "something my mom would use"  I would use it though.  It allows the user to select and configure several popular social
sites including FaceBook and Flickr.  The concept and thinking around this is right on. 

Integrating these services into your own custom apps is cool but wonder what is the motivation for providers to open up to applications-
will this eventually lose eyeballs for them? 

Aggregated cross-network experience: Reminds me of my thinking way back in 2003 around a client app that gets what you want from the web-
A new Outlook for the web?  Needs to be something that comes pre-configured since IMO most users won’t take the time to learn how to configure things but
maybe only ask you the sign-in info for each service but that’s it-then give the user some standard templates or examples of templates used by others. 

Why not throw search in there as well? Do crawls based on collected meta tags-frequently search terms.  Maybe add your intranet info as well-platform type i.e. Sharepoint. pull in mysites data etc.  Another expediate option maybe to extend existing RSS Feed Aggregators for example-add the social layer on top. Ability for your enterprise to push data into external communities and of coursein as well-publish directly to YouTube as a marketing tool, FaceBook etc.

Karthik made a good point in pointing out IT Governance potentially blocking this-and suggested the need to develop a new solution framework to overcome.

He made an interesting observation that stuck with me-Social services the next phase of collaboration-seems like something for SharePoint to think about.
Must extend your core systems via services to get the benefit.  IMO Walmart although I hate them is a good example of using IT smart by allowing thier supplier
(make them the sellers) to track inventory and sales per store and adjust thier own in store inventory geographically.  Let your suppliers manage your inventory-very smart. 

Demo of OBA Toolkit: essentially Popfly for the enterprise-making sure components make sense and in context of user.  Cool app-maybe still needs to be more open and flexible-Popfly works since it’s very intuitive-that intuitiveness comes at a cost-you have to let people experiment not lock them to limited choices-the smart people
will figure thing out.


Main points to getting started in social computing for your enterprise:
Define strategy-why are you doing this?
Establish presence in existing communities
How to integrate users and data points.

Contoso Corp. Community Dashboard coming soon. 

What Allyis can do? We can provide "community enabling services" for the enterprise and also
provide online collaboration solutions with social community features built-in. (MS Online Services maybe a good platform to start on).