Free cloud hosting for Twitter research
20 December 2011
A researcher from the University of Oxford has won a year’s free hosting on our cloud infrastructure for his research study into the use and content of twitter.
Devin Gaffney, a masters degree student from Oxford, took part in the bidding process we organised alongside JANET Brokerage to win a year of free Eduserv cloud hosting for research projects.
Gaffney, who specialises in Social Science of the Internet, is carrying out a research project that will explore how the information available through Twitter’s open API can be used to provide vital information for social or political science researchers. Gaffney proposes the use of software that researchers can set their research parameters in and extract raw analytical results from Twitter to study.
Currently 1.4 billion tweets are being held as part of the research project. Researchers can search these tweets for social trends and information. Gaffney points out that hosting the data in the cloud is ideal for a project of this scale: “With such a large amount of data to potentially review it is important that the infrastructure can scale up and down with demand. Some analytical requests will be very large and intensive whilst other research parameters may mean very small analytical requests.”
Gaffney concludes, “If the project is fully realised the system will be the only open source and completely cost free service for researchers to analyse the topics and information people are tweeting about.”
Andy Powell, Eduserv’s Research Programme Director, says, “This is a really exciting project that recognises the benefits of analysing social media for social and political research. The project will fully utilise the benefits of cloud computing by being able to scale up and down with demand. Although we are giving this project a year’s free hosting, a pay-as-you-go cloud model would be ideal for this sort of project so they would only pay for what they use.”