Saturday, July 2, 2011

Update: Cloud Computing Projects for Engineering Students

This is an updated version of a blog that I posted about an year and a half back. At that time, only few students were interested in cloud computing projects and now their numbers are increasing. Hence this update. The new project done since my earlier article are

Socioseacher - a project that links major web services - Facebook, Linkedin 

Placement and Training Cell- By Harsha, PES . This project is built using Google resources

IEEE paper based projects

Following my presentation on Cloud Applications at Cloud Computing and Virtualization workshop at NIT, K Surathkal during July 2010, a good number of students from a couple of colleges have approached me requesting to suggest an academic cloud-based project for their degree and diploma courses (thanks to faculty who attended the workshop and carried the message to their students inspired them to consider such projects). Cloud-computing paradigm is catching up business world like a wild-fire and it is natural for students and faculty to thinking in this direction. Here in my college, we started exploring in  this direction about a year ago and our students have successfully completed about three projects. Hence, here I wish share some points with those interested which provide them a starting point towards identifying and carrying out a cloud-based project that go towards partial fulfillment of degree and diploma courses.

Understanding Cloud application:
First step towards this goal is to understanding the nature of a cloud-based project or application. Simply put, a cloud-application is like any traditional computer-application except that it is built using cloud-based resources and hosted on a cloud-platform. 
For example,  a cloud-based ERP application is accessed by a user via web interface and is hosted on service provider’s remote servers. Another cloud-application is Gmail.  To know more about nature and types of cloud application kindly go through this presentation Cloud-applications. It includes information about what is a cloud application, examples and resources to build them. There is no limit for kinds of projects that can be made cloud-based and virtually every existing business application can be transformed into cloud-based one. For instance here is an example of cloud-based learning management system. Imagination is the limit and  scratch your head or conduct a brainstorm session with other to find a project idea to develop using cloud-based resources.

Cloud-based projects for students
The above examples of cloud-based ERP and Gmail represent industry-strength applications. However a student project need not be that sophisticated. It could be as simple as AlumniMaps, which mashes-up two resources namely  users data  from facebook on Google maps to produce a very useful and insightful maps that shows current locations of alumni of any given institution. Other examples include X-social and Cloud-based teaching system. (needs adobe flash player to view it )  Projects can also be considered from cloud-security and Virtualization perspective.

Cloud-based resources for student projects: 
Unlike traditional application, Cloud-based projects are built using cloud-based resources. Fortunately for all of us, there are number of resources that can be used in our project development. More importantly most of these resources are FREE and some times need a simple one-time registration process.  Here I list of some such resources used by my students in earlier projects
  • API: Application Programming Interface ( API) provide a royal route to use resource created by Internet giants such as Google and Facebook. For instance one can use Google search API to access its search index and customize it to meet her project needs or piggyback on Facebook resources. Kindly go through small presentation on API to get clear picture.
  • GAE: Google Application Engine: a platform that allows user to host his application for general access. Application can be developed off-line and can be uploaded. You may go through this presentation on GAE  to know more about it
In addition there are programming /scripting languages that can be used to varying degrees at different stages of project development. They include PHP, Python, and many more. In addition there are many resources that help you master them and use them in your project work.

Finally you may visit my blog  Cloudcomplete which is created to share information with students interested in cloud-based aspects. You may also consider joining  the cloud computing group

Hopefully I have shared enough information to inspire you to take up a cloud-based projects.  You may also consider enhance the following projects further

For any more information, please post a comment on this blog, I will try find it out for you



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