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Nuvolos Year in Review: 2022

A message from our CEO, Alexandru Popescu:

As we embark on 2023, we at Alphacruncher, the parent company producing the Nuvolos platform, have a lot to look back on. In this year in review, we want to provide a brief overview of how Nuvolos and our company evolved over the past year and to give a brief look into future developments. We hope you enjoy this look back with us while we go full steam ahead with the challenges of the new year.

The team

The most important part of any company is the people. In 2022, we practically doubled the size of our team, strengthening our capabilities in every department. Following modern startup practices, we have made ourselves even more international based on a combination of office and fully remote work, with strong representation especially in Austria, Hungary, and Germany. In the coming year, we may find further opportunities for team growth as well. You can of course at any time see our fantastic team up close on our about page.

Product development highlights

2022 was a very strong year for product development on Nuvolos, the integral cloud solution for computational research. We strengthened our feature set across the board, offering more to both researchers and educators on a single cloud platform. While there are too many developments to list them all in their entirety, I want to highlight some key feature developments here:

  • We added more than 20 new applications, making Nuvolos the market leader in best-in-class tool availability for researchers and scholars. Included are important pipeline and workflow management apps (Airflow, MLFlow), data visualisation tools (Superset), specialised engineering tooling (CalculiX, QGIS) and Python applications (Spyder). On top of that, we further optimised existing configurations and toolkits for machine learning, geospatial engineering, numeric optimisation and dashboard creation. As always, the ready to hand applications are not exhaustive; Nuvolos can support any application and configuration that can run on Linux.
  • To strengthen the cost controlling component, we overhauled our in-built monitoring dashboard and developed a completely new one.
  • The team has strengthened security by allowing storage of secrets on Nuvolos. This also allows a more secure and reliable method for accessing external services such as data storage.
  • We have improved ease of use by supporting Google authentication across the board.

Education using Nuvolos

Nuvolos is always dedicated to supporting education as well as research, and this is reflected in the educational features we developed over the past year. Just to give some examples: we added native support for video storage, creating an integration to support video libraries for teaching purposes using Vimeo. We also now allow scheduling of applications in advance, so teachers do not waste course time on application startup. Everything is about saving time for the real work!

On top of these, we added a Nuvolos-native process for assignments. This is a wholly new workflow specifically tailored to the needs of educators. They can assign work to students with software-supported deadlines, run applications and code directly in their students’ workspaces, to help troubleshoot and give advice, can mass collect student coursework all at once, and even mark assignments directly in the application.

The Alphacruncher PhD fellowship

Nurturing and maintaining strong relations with the academic community is a top priority at Alphacruncher. Alphacruncher created the PhD Fellowship Program to recognise outstanding graduate students doing exceptional and innovative research in areas relevant to computational science and related fields. Fellowships support promising PhD candidates of all backgrounds who seek to influence the future of their fields.

While this fellowship was newly established in 2022, we have already been able to accept the first successful candidate for the fellowship, and we are happy to report their project is developing well. They have been avid users of Nuvolos and have benefited from the flexibility of tool choice our platform offers while saving time on their research. We expect that this year another application window will open during the summer. For more information, check in regularly at our fellowship information page.

The Nuvolos free trial

One of the most important developments in 2022 was our long-awaited release of the Nuvolos free trial. While we always offered the opportunity to assess our product for free as a bespoke offer for those interested in trying it out, we wanted to make this process more streamlined and accessible. The Nuvolos free trial does just that: it offers a quick and painless way to use the product for a week at no cost. Virtually the full feature set is available, with only a few caveats for security. This shows the confidence we have that once you have actually used the platform, you will understand why we are so proud of it. Feel free to give it a try right now.

What’s next?

Of course, we don’t want to just look back – we also want to give you a sense of what we are planning for the future. Although the year is still young, we already have some exciting plans. Just to share a few with you here:

  • We are working towards the ability to publish your projects. This will allow you to share and draw attention to your research work done on the Nuvolos platform, and even share your environment in a containerised form for use by third parties. We are dedicated to showing how easy scientific collaboration can (and should) be.
  • We want to make our data storage options even more flexible, corresponding to the great variety of different needs and solutions out there.
  • We are looking at improving API support for the Nuvolos platform, enabling new possibilities in terms of tooling and user interaction.
  • Last but not least, we intend to improve the user interface of our applications ‘marketplace’, making it even easier to find what you are looking for and what you have been running. Expect some announcements on this topic before long.

These are just some of the plans we have for making Nuvolos an even better tool and to save researchers and scholars even more time on the overhead of their computational research. Our overall aim remains unchanged: to advance the frontiers of science by giving scientists back their valuable working time. Let’s see what 2023 will bring us.

We hope everyone will have a fantastic new year and we look forward to you joining us on our adventure.

Alexandru Popescu, Co-Founder and CEO, Alphacruncher