Climate change researchers offered free cloud services by IBM, Microsoft and Amazon

Researchers specialising in climate change will be given cloud and supercomputer resources for free, following announcements by Microsoft, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM.

The Microsoft Azure for Research programme will offer a year's worth of free cloud computing to 20 award winners who submit proposals before 15 September, while AWS have started a climate research programme that will provide free access to its EC2 Spot Instances service from September.

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IBM has also agreed to give free access to virtual supercomputing resources by expanding its World Community Grid programme.

Amazon has pledge to grant 50 million core hours for research, which they hope will help to better understand the effects of climate change.

"The Amazon Climate Research Grant Programme addresses this need by offering the scalable computing resources of the AWS Cloud to researchers so that they can quickly analyse climate data and increase our understanding of climate change," the company said.

In a blog post, Dan Fey, director for earth, energy and environment at Microsoft Research also outlined the aims of the scheme.

"The overarching goal is to encourage data providers, scientists, farmers, food producers and the public to discover the food supply's key vulnerabilities and inherent resiliency."

The programme will support the US government's Climate Action Plan and Climate Data Initiative, both of which were recently launched by US President Barack Obama.

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Stanley Litow, president at the IBM International Foundation said that massive computer power was as important to scientific advancement as test tubes and telescopes.

"Due to scarce funding for research, pioneering scientists often don't have access to supercomputers vast enough to meet their research objectives."