Google Cures Cancer With 600,000 Processor Cores [Google I/O]

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You may be familiar with Google's App Engine, a service that allows developers to host their apps on the cloud and take advantage of Google's processing power to service thousands of users. Well, App Engine just got bigger - way bigger.

At the Google I/O keynote today, the company announced Google Compute Engine. It's App Engine on a massive scale. It's intended for large scale operations that require lots of processing power and Google figures that their cloud service can help power the next generation of data processing.

They used the example of a new app that is being used to research the genome that is helping to find potential cancer cures. Under current computational standards, Google pointed out that the research on the Genome Explorer app would take about 10 minutes to find each one match. To show off Compute Engine, they showed the same app being powered by 10,000 processor cores being powered by Google. This allows a match to be made every second.

Compute Engine shows off the potential of cloud computing for research. A match a second wasn't good enough for Google though and they showed a ticker that revealed there were now over 700,000 cores in Compute Engine. From there, they allotted 600,000 cores to the same genome app. Using that many cores, the app was able to discover multiple matches on a constant basis.

Compute Engine has the potential to shake up the game in cloud computing. It's only been used for personal or limited business uses for now. With Compute Engine, we can use cloud computing to push research and other large scale projects beyond previous thresholds.

Compute Engine has been released today in a limited preview for partners to take advantage of. Google also said that it has been competitively priced to be affordable for all.


Google released a blog post detailing Compute Engine and provided a bit more information on the service. Here's the capabilities that you can expect from Compute Engine:

Compute. Launch Linux VMs on-demand. 1, 2, 4 and 8 virtual core VMs are available with 3.75GB RAM per virtual core.

Storage. Store data on local disk, on our new persistent block device, or on our Internet-scale object store, Google Cloud Storage.

Network. Connect your VMs together using our high-performance network technology to form powerful compute clusters and manage connectivity to the Internet with configurable firewalls.

Tooling. Configure and control your VMs via a scriptable command line tool or web UI. Or you can create your own dynamic management system using our API.

You can sign up for a limited preview for Compute Engine at Google's official site. If you have dreams of curing cancer or processing advanced mathematics, this may be the service for you.

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