NSF has issued a press release highlighting their recent funding in support of cloud computing activities (via the NSF Cluster Exploratory (CLuE) program). OpenTopography team members at SDSC received funding via CluE to support research into the application of cloud computing to the management and processing of LiDAR topography: "Performance Evaluation of On-Demand Provisioning of Data Intensive Applications"
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego are studying how to manage and process massive spatial data sets on large-scale compute clusters. The specific test case is analysis of high-resolution topographic data sets from airborne LiDAR surveys, which are of great interest to many Earth scientists. Providing efficient access and analytic capabilites will have broad impact beyond the geosciences because the techniques are likely to be applicable to other types of large data sets.