“Social Clouds: Cloud Computing through Social Networks”
alongside IEEE CloudCom Conference, Bristol, UK
Social network platforms have rapidly changed the way that people communicate and interact. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn enable the establishment of and participation in digital communities; and the representation, documentation and exploration of social interactions as well as relationships. Consequently, electronic relationships are quickly becoming intertwined with their real world counterparts. Social networks have always served as a vital means for the sharing and exchange of informal information, improving the understanding of relationships, improving communication between globally dispersed individuals, and more recently measuring scientific impact. As social network platforms as well as the ‘apps’ they enable become more sophisticated social networks can also serve as a means of service, resource and data sharing. Or in other words, social networks can facilitate the construction of Social Clouds: the provisioning of Cloud infrastructure through social network constructs.
As the cost of personal computing has decreased, the capabilities and resources of Internet connected users has dramatically increased. We know from volunteer computing that at the edges of the Internet, resource owners are willing to make their resources freely available for “good uses”. Taking Facebook as an example, and discounting the 60% of users that access Facebook with mobile devices, skimming just 1% of users’ compute resources would yield a computational infrastructure 4 times larger than the total resources contributed to the SETI@home project. 2% would begin to be comparable to a top500.org supercomputer. In addition, crowdsourcing leverages the capabilities of both skilled and unskilled communities of individuals to perform a wide variety of tasks.
However, constructing a compute, data or resource sharing platform through a social network is not straightforward. There are many challenges that sit at the intersection of computer science, information systems, computational social science and economics that must be addressed. At the centre of this workshop is the question: How can members of a social network efficiently share infrastructure and software services across digital relationships?