Here’s a good way to get up to speed on WindowsAzure and contribute to a worldwide distributed computing project (Folding@Home) – by participating in the webcast you’ll also receive a temporary, self-expiring full-access account to work with Azure for a period of 2-weeks at no cost – that’s worth the webcast investment time.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months working with and talking about Windows Azure to a variety of audiences, but if you’re anything like me, it can be hard to truly ‘get it’ until you touch it. So to bring it all home (pun intended), my colleagues Brian Hitney, John McClelland, and I have been working on a pretty cool virtual event.
@Home with Windows Azure, is a two-hour webcast, which we’ll be repeating over the next couple of months, through which we’ll cover many of the core components of Windows Azure in a rather unique context; this is not your father’s “Hello World” experience!
The application we’ll be building leverages Stanford University’s Folding@home project. Folding@home is a distributed computing application, where participants donate spare cycles of their own machines (at home, get it?) to running simulations of protein folding.
Protein folding refers the process by which proteins assemble themselves to perform specific functions, like acting as enzymes or antigens. When things go wrong, diseases and conditions such as Alzheimer’s and cystic fibrosis can result, so understanding why things go wrong is critical to advancing treatment and finding cures. Protein folding though is a very compute-intensive operation, and simulating just a nanosecond of folding activity can take as much as a day of CPU time!
That’s where Windows Azure comes in. During these sessions we’ll walk through the steps to build a cloud application that will use Azure compute instances to contribute to the Folding@home project. Registrants will get a no-strings-attached, two-week Azure account as part of the deal, so you’ll have a chance to build your own Azure application and contribute to medical science – how cool is that!