Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Cloud computing in education
Berkeley's computer science program has a long tradition of integrating research into teaching, at all levels from undergraduate to PhD. Last year we piloted a successful SaaS project course using Ruby on Rails; this year we offered a more advanced version of the course that introduces students to the challenges of SaaS operations (scalability, availability, etc.) using cloud computing, with a generous donation of AWS credits from Amazon. I wrote a short article for Berkeley's IT newsletter on why we did this and what our experiences were. It turns out that besides being easy to administer, utility computing was a great fit for the bursty demand associated with a lab/project intensive course. Amazon will be expanding its support for cloud computing in education soon, and I'm sure we will be looking at moving other courses to cloud computing as well.