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Chalking up another entry for the list of unique uses for cloud computing is the “Helix Nebula – the Science Cloud,” a group of 18 companies and researchers who are developing a cloud platform to search for the illustrious God Particle. Should they be successful, they will have solved one of the most complex scientific challenges to face man.

CloudTweaks reports, “Ever since the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, went active in 2008, speculation has been rife that the elusive Higgs boson, a hypothetical elementary particle that should explain why fundamental particles have mass, will finally be discovered. The Higgs boson has earned the sobriquet the ‘God Particle’ and European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) effort to discover it has gained worldwide attention. Now, cloud computing is expected to do its part.”

The initiative has allowed Amazon to manufacture a new breed of supercomputer that is more cost-effective to run and operate compared to its predecessors.

The reason why cloud computing is viable option in this case is that it provides the sheer number crunching, hard-hitting computer power required to process large volumes of information. This is something we’ve already seen with consumer big data.

“CERN’s computing capacity needs to keep up with the enormous amount of data coming from the Large Hadron Collider and we see Helix Nebula – the Science Cloud as a great way of working with industry to meet this challenge,” said Frédéric Hemmer, head of CERN’s IT department.

Particle physics is not the only field that will benefit from the platform; the European Molecular Biology Laboratory will use it to analyze large amounts of data, a problem task that plagues many laboratories. Additionally, the Helix Nebula will be used to monitor volcanoes and earthquakes. Now that we see just how useful cloud technology can be in a consumer-based setting, it’s great to see it have life-altering applications as well.