10:48 PM

Amazon Grant Teaches Students Cloud-Based Technologies

Dr. Carlos Monroy with student Christophe LeDr. Carlos Monroy, assistant professor of Computing Science, received a one-year AWS Cloud Credits for Research grant given by Amazon Web Services in the amount of $15,000.

The Value of this Grant

“These types of grants are critical for learning because they provide state-of-the-art technologies that students can work with,” Monroy said. “In addition, the skills developed by the students are in high demand once they finish their studies. They also fit perfectly into the problem-based and situated learning pedagogy that we have adopted for our Computer Science program at UST.”

AWS Cloud Credits for Research is aimed at supporting new projects that seek to build a cloud-hosted service, software, or tools and/or seek to migrate a research process or open data to the cloud. Less emphasis is placed on providing support for operations, ongoing or established research projects, and research projects that are more limited in the potential scope of AWS usage.

The Projects this Grant will Fund

“This grant will allow us to develop and create cloud-based solutions for some research projects we are presently working on,” Monroy said. “Specifically, one for data integration and analytics with publicly available data from the City of Houston Open data portal. The other project is in the area of Computational Biology”

  • Project One: Open Data Integration/Analytics. In this project we will integrate diverse data sets publicly available from the City of Houston’s Open Data Portal in an automatic fashion. Building prediction and clustering models based on those data sets. Implement web-based visualization interfaces for exploring the data sets. Develop voice-based methods for querying and searching data.
  • Project Two: A web-based search engine for finding proteins based on patterns in stretch of amino acids. This is a collaborative project with Dr. Albert Ribes-Zamora, associate professor of biology and Dr. Maia Larios-Sanz. associate professor of biology and Cullen Trust/Harry K. Smith Chair of biology. Create a database of proteins and deploy an in-memory analytics engine for querying and searching proteins. This tool will be available to the public via a web-based interface for querying and visualizing results.

“This grant and these projects allow students to learn how cloud-based technologies work,” Monroy said. “They also learn how to integrate data that comes from diverse sources and how to integrate different technologies for making these solutions work. Without this generous grant, we would not be able to afford accessing and using these cloud-based resources.”

This grant involves three modalities for student learning: a student conducting an independent study, a team of students from Computer Science and Computational Biology and finally engaging students from the Celts Computing Club to work on interfaces for accessing data and information in these repositories.

“This project is a great way to explore new technologies such as Amazon AWS cloud computing while applying concepts learned in class to a real-life problem." Senior Christophe Le said.