Author(s): Shatil AS, Younas S, Pourreza H, Figley CR
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Abstract With larger data sets and more sophisticated analyses, it is becoming increasingly common for neuroimaging researchers to push (or exceed) the limitations of standalone computer workstations. Nonetheless, although high-performance computing platforms such as clusters, grids and clouds are already in routine use by a small handful of neuroimaging researchers to increase their storage and/or computational power, the adoption of such resources by the broader neuroimaging community remains relatively uncommon. Therefore, the goal of the current manuscript is to: 1) inform prospective users about the similarities and differences between computing clusters, grids and clouds; 2) highlight their main advantages; 3) discuss when it may (and may not) be advisable to use them; 4) review some of their potential problems and barriers to access; and finally 5) give a few practical suggestions for how interested new users can start analyzing their neuroimaging data using cloud resources. Although the aim of cloud computing is to hide most of the complexity of the infrastructure management from end-users, we recognize that this can still be an intimidating area for cognitive neuroscientists, psychologists, neurologists, radiologists, and other neuroimaging researchers lacking a strong computational background. Therefore, with this in mind, we have aimed to provide a basic introduction to cloud computing in general (including some of the basic terminology, computer architectures, infrastructure and service models, etc.), a practical overview of the benefits and drawbacks, and a specific focus on how cloud resources can be used for various neuroimaging applications.
This article was published in Magn Reson Insights
and referenced in Applied Microbiology: Open Access