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Sending Cell Phones Into the Cloud

By Technology Review

May 4, 2009



Intel Research Berkeley scientists Byung-Gon Chun and Petros Maniatis have developed CloneCloud, a cloud computing-based clone of smartphones that can handle large computational processing tasks. CloneCloud uses a smartphone's high-speed Internet connection to communicate with a copy of itself that exists in a cloud-computing environment on remote servers. The prototype, which runs Google's Android mobile operating system, creates an exact replica of the phone's software and can handle any processor-intensive task that is too much for the phone itself, based on amount of time and battery life that the task and transmitting the data would require.

CloneCloud's major advantage is battery-life extension due to lower utilization of the phone's processor. Security would be a priority for CloneCloud, particularly as smartphones continue to be used as mini general-purpose computers, which could lead to many of the same problems that plague desktops, including viruses and spyware.

Maniatis says the research team is developing ways to secure CloneCloud, such as "taint checking," a processor-intensive technique that examines the variables in data entered from outside sources. "We're using execution in the cloud to run email applications in an environment where you can do this emulation without waiting for the heat death of the universe for your smart phone to finish," Maniatis says.

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