Newcastle scientist to address Microsoft Conference

The two global IT giants Google and Microsoft have invited a Newcastle University computer scientist to their major conferences in Seattle, USA, because they were so interested in his work on ground-breaking ‘cloud’ technology.

Paul Watson presented the CARMEN project, a system for neuroscientists to analyse and share data with each other via a science cloud using the internet rather than local computers. This cloud technology is used in websites like You Tube and My Space, where thousands of standard PC hard drives would still not be large enough to meet the sites’ massive data storage requirements.

The Microsoft Faculty Summit takes place 27- 29 July with an invited audience of over 400 academics from all over the world scheduled to attend.

Paul’s talk at the Google Scalability Conference took place earlier this month and is now on You Tube, and has been watched over 1,600 times. It can be seen on

He said: “The growing interest in cloud technology is tremendous with all the large companies such as Google and Microsoft announcing their intention to move into this field. In Newcastle we have identified neuroscientists as a particular group where we could make a huge difference. We can make it much easier for these researchers to share their knowledge with each other and therefore speed up pioneering work into how the brain works, which is obviously beneficial to everyone.”

Peter Arnold, chief executive, Newcastle Science City said: “Newcastle is a leading science city now and nothing demonstrates this fact better than Paul Watson’s work at Newcastle University. It is a great honour for Newcastle to be seen as cutting edge by the global leaders in internet technology and will greatly help put all of the achievements in this city on the world stage.”

There are currently an estimated 100,000 neuroscientists around the world and at present they usually have to store their information on individual systems. The CARMEN pilot will enable them to see each others data in an easily-interpreted way, rather than being saved in a range of different formats. There is also a system that allows information to be kept secure until scientists are happy to open it up to others.

One NorthEast is now funding a new Newcastle Science City project called e-Science Central to spread the benefits of cloud computing beyond neuroscience, to a wide range of scientists in companies and universities around the region.

Dr Caroline Gladwell, innovation & healthcare pillar manager at One NorthEast said: “One NorthEast is delighted that Paul Watson has been invited to such a prestigious international event in recognition of his excellent work. This represents further demonstration that our regional science is internationally competitive and is increasingly being recognised on the global scale for its innovation.”