There has been a lot of talk lately about the cloud and its possibilities. Can the Operations Research community leverage what is available from the cloud? What can the Operations Research community offer to the cloud or businesses that focus on the cloud technology?

asked 23 Jun '11, 10:49

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larrydag 1 ♦
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edited 10 Jul '12, 04:17

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fbahr ♦

Great question.

(24 Jun '11, 00:08) DC Woods ♦

Yes, this is an excellent question ! Will O.R SaaS become popular ? When ? I am unsure, but really hope it will.

(24 Jun '11, 14:25) Bo Jensen ♦

Hi, I have seen a post at twitter by @sys_or about a cloud cost minimization with linear programming. I am not sure whether other members have posted this link or not, but for any case I would like to also share the link

(19 Jul '12, 15:20) Pelin

The thing that springs to mind is cloud computing ( NEOS is a prime example of this for optimization ( The folks at Gurobi have embraced the concept with their Gurobi Cloud offering ( Potentially any OR type application can be transplanted to to the cloud (if their UI is uncomplicated enough).

I think the main issue with the cloud is robustness. What happens if I lose my internet connection? Or when I'm on the road with a flaky (or no) wifi connection? Or when the server is down (hacked etc.)? How many hours/days before it will be up again?

All these problems hearken back to the days when we used mainframes and dumb terminals. Sure, it was more efficient to centralize everything (single point of backup, professional administrators), but when things failed, it affected everyone. I mean, even the best sys admins are not infallible -- even the behemoth Google has its bad days. When PCs came around, it solved the problem of centralization, but with cloud computing we seem to have forgotten the crucial shortcomings of centralized computing and are moving back to a high-risk situation.

I think the key to making the cloud work is "distribution". Dropbox is such an example. It stores a copy of your file on the cloud, but it also syncs to all your machines, so if Dropbox's servers are down or your data on their server is somehow lost, you can still work off one of the many copies you've synced to your machines.

I think Google's notion of the cloud (where everything is online) has severe robustness problems. Apple's iCloud and Dropbox-like notions of the cloud are far more robust.

For OR applications that are mission-critical, I would be more inclined to use a cloud+sync strategy, rather than just putting everything on the cloud. This is of course a burgeoning area, and a lot of new open-source players are entering the marketplace: AeroFS (, Syncany ( etc. Distributed version control systems like Mercurial ( have more or less a robust way of handling conflicts. It would be great if we can build next-generation applications based on these ideas.


answered 23 Jun '11, 11:22

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Gilead ♦
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edited 23 Jun '11, 11:26

Also, ask not what the cloud can do for OR, but what OR can do for the cloud. what kinds of algorithms are used? are there queuing or scheduling issues? how can technology developed in the or/cs interface apply for the cloud to perform better?


answered 18 Jul '11, 16:30

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Harvey Green...
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OR can do a lot for the cloud, for example real-time planning of processes onto machines.

(19 Jul '11, 02:16) Geoffrey De ... ♦

In what comes to OR being used by the cloud, I think that Google's sponsorship to ROADEF 2012 challenge is a good example.

As for the opposite direction, I saw a presentation at CPAIOR 2011 entitled "Which MIPs could a million CPUs solve?" which I summarized on a blog post and I had some interesting comments on it.

(02 Aug '11, 22:33) Thiago Serra

Cheaper hosting, pay-as-you-use, and easy horizontal scaling.

For pubic clouds, take a look at:

For private clouds, take a look at:

But it's not about the clouds as much as it is about the technology on the clouds, such as NoSql (infinispan, hadoop, ...) and the ideas behind those technologies.


answered 27 Jun '11, 06:06

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Geoffrey De ... ♦
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edited 27 Jun '11, 06:07


answered 12 Jul '12, 15:21

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answered 25 Jul '12, 11:29

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Asked: 23 Jun '11, 10:49

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Last updated: 25 Jul '12, 11:29

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