Clouds Reign

Computer science professor Charlie Wiseman takes questions on computing in the cloud

Even if you’ve never heard of cloud computing, you’ve probably used it. Every time you check email from your phone or stream a movie to your TV, you’re accessing the cloud: data that “lives” elsewhere and can be accessed from anywhere. We talked to computer science professor Charlie Wiseman about the rise of cloud computing and its implications for data security.

Photo: Joshua Touster

Computer science professor Charlie Wiseman. Photo: Joshua Touster.

How has cloud computing changed the relationship between people and their computers?
Until recently, everyone had to store things like digital photos on their computer. And it was a disaster if your computer crashed and all your photos were just gone. In the cloud computing paradigm, all of your pictures are stored somewhere else, so you can access them from anywhere and it doesn’t matter if your actual computer dies.

Is there a future where personal computer hardware becomes obsolete?
That’s one possibility. Another related possibility is that your computer becomes very minimal: Just a keyboard, screen, and mouse, and all of your personal information is kept on your cell phone—something you have on you all the time. Then, when you sit down at your computer, you plug in your phone and the computer recognizes you and gives you access to things like your email and your pictures.

As cloud computing grows more prevalent, how do the risks of cyber terrorism increase?
Cyber terrorists or other governments are unlikely to find data if it is only stored on my computer because it is one of millions. But if that data is stored on the server farms of a couple of companies, they only have to attack one place rather than hundreds of thousands of places.

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4 comments

  1. James W Nigsley /

    This is an interesting video.

    Too bad WIT refuses to change their course catalog to include any Cloud Computing, Super computing or Parallel Processing.

    -JWN

  2. Cloud computing is a very interesting subject. On the one hand, sure it’s convenient to have all of your stuff available to you at all times with little to no fear of hard drive crashes and losing data and whatnot, but at the same time, I still like the idea of being able to start your own server from home or working with languages like C that can really get into the core of your hardware. I’m not sure I’d really like a future where storage is a job left for companies and companies alone. The way it is now is much more fun, isn’t it?

    I’m sure the two systems can co-exist though so that everyone is happy. I mean the convenience of the cloud is indisputable. But the power of the full computer, you just can’t let go of. Or maybe it’s just me…

  3. This is an interesting video, very interesting subject. On the one hand, sure it’s convenient to have all of your stuff available to you at all times with little to no fear of hard drive crashes and losing data and whatnot, but at the same time

  4. Kaddour /

    I wish all professors at Wentworth are knowledgeable and super-talented like Mr. Wiseman.

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