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February 25, 2011

General Electric Explores Industrial Applications for Cloud Computing

Nicole Hemsoth

General Electric has experimented with a number of innovative IT models, including a private cloud effort  that it announced back in 2009 to increase data center efficiency. The company has kept keen eye on a number of cloud trends and has been a key investor in some notable projects aimed at reducing energy consumption in data centers.

GE was also one of the earliest large companies to use a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model for its critical supply chain management operations. According to statements this week, they are stepping beyond data center consolidation and SaaS to take cloud R&D in new product-centered directions.

This week Weizhong Yan, a senior scientist in the Industrial Artificial Intelligence Lab at GE Global Research discussed how a company with a such broad focus is exploring more new avenues in cloud computing to “provide agile, on-demand, next generation industrial services and solutions.”

Yan describes some of the recent efforts GE has been making to use cloud computing to improve a number of its products and operations. He notes that the company has been “increasingly involved in putting cloud computing to use for its various IT support functions and more recently has started exploring use of the elasticity and raw computing power of a cloud to solve some of its hard engineering problems.”

Yan works with a team of computer scientists in the analytics division who are conducting a number of cloud computing experiments to tackle analytically intensive problems. He notes that beyond general experimentation with clouds, there are programs that are leveraging the cloud for “designing and developing machine learning solutions…while other are focused on deploying remote monitoring and diagnostics (RM&D) applications on cloud resources to support operation of industrial assets like gas turbines, locomotives, compressors and medical imaging machines.”
 

Full story at GE Global Research