Using Google Fusion Tables from #rstats

But after all that- I was quite happy to see Google Fusion Tables within Google Docs. Databases as a service ? Not quite but still quite good, and lets see how it goes.

https://www.google.com/fusiontables/DataSource?dsrcid=implicit&hl=en_US&pli=1

http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2011/09/fusion-tables-new-google-docs-app.html

 

But what interests me more is

http://code.google.com/apis/fusiontables/docs/developers_guide.html

The Google Fusion Tables API is a set of statements that you can use to search for and retrieve Google Fusion Tables data, insert new data, update existing data, and delete data. The API statements are sent to the Google Fusion Tables server using HTTP GET requests (for queries) and POST requests (for inserts, updates, and deletes) from a Web client application. The API is language agnostic: you can write your program in any language you prefer, as long as it provides some way to embed the API calls in HTTP requests.

The Google Fusion Tables API does not provide the mechanism for submitting the GET and POST requests. Typically, you will use an existing code library that provides such functionality; for example, the code libraries that have been developed for the Google GData API. You can also write your own code to implement GET and POST requests.

Also see http://code.google.com/apis/fusiontables/docs/sample_code.html

 

Google Fusion Tables API Sample Code

Libraries

SQL API

Language Library Public repository Samples
Python Fusion Tables Python Client Library fusion-tables-client-python/ Samples
PHP Fusion Tables PHP Client Library fusion-tables-client-php/ Samples

Featured Samples

An easy way to learn how to use an API can be to look at sample code. The table above provides links to some basic samples for each of the languages shown. This section highlights particularly interesting samples for the Fusion Tables API.

SQL API

Language Featured samples API version
cURL
  • Hello, cURLA simple example showing how to use curl to access Fusion Tables.
SQL API
Google Apps Script SQL API
Java
  • Hello, WorldA simple walkthrough that shows how the Google Fusion Tables API statements work.
  • OAuth example on fusion-tables-apiThe Google Fusion Tables team shows how OAuth authorization enables you to use the Google Fusion Tables API from a foreign web server with delegated authorization.
SQL API
Python
  • Docs List ExampleDemonstrates how to:
    • List tables
    • Set permissions on tables
    • Move a table to a folder
Docs List API
Android (Java)
  • Basic Sample ApplicationDemo application shows how to create a crowd-sourcing application that allows users to report potholes and save the data to a Fusion Table.
SQL API
JavaScript – FusionTablesLayer Using the FusionTablesLayer, you can display data on a Google Map

Also check out FusionTablesLayer Builder, which generates all the code necessary to include a Google Map with a Fusion Table Layer on your own website.

FusionTablesLayer, Google Maps API
JavaScript – Google Chart Tools Using the Google Chart Tools, you can request data from Fusion Tables to use in visualizations or to display directly in an HTML page. Note: responses are limited to 500 rows of data.

Google Chart Tools

External Resources

Google Fusion Tables is dedicated to providing code examples that illustrate typical uses, best practices, and really cool tricks. If you do something with the Google Fusion Tables API that you think would be interesting to others, please contact us at googletables-feedback@google.com about adding your code to our Examples page.

  • Shape EscapeA tool for uploading shape files to Fusion Tables.
  • GDALOGR Simple Feature Library has incorporated Fusion Tables as a supported format.
  • Arc2CloudArc2Earth has included support for upload to Fusion Tables via Arc2Cloud.
  • Java and Google App EngineODK Aggregate is an AppEngine application by the Open Data Kit team, uses Google Fusion Tables to store survey data that is collected through input forms on Android mobile phones. Notable code:
  • R packageAndrei Lopatenko has written an R interface to Fusion Tables so Fusion Tables can be used as the data store for R.
  • RubySimon Tokumine has written a Ruby gem for access to Fusion Tables from Ruby.

 

Updated-You can use Google Fusion Tables from within R from http://andrei.lopatenko.com/rstat/fusion-tables.R

 

ft.connect <- function(username, password) {
  url = "https://www.google.com/accounts/ClientLogin";
  params = list(Email = username, Passwd = password, accountType="GOOGLE", service= "fusiontables", source = "R_client_API")
 connection = postForm(uri = url, .params = params)
 if (length(grep("error", connection, ignore.case = TRUE))) {
 	stop("The wrong username or password")
 	return ("")
 }
 authn = strsplit(connection, "\nAuth=")[[c(1,2)]]
 auth = strsplit(authn, "\n")[[c(1,1)]]
 return (auth)
}

ft.disconnect <- function(connection) {
}

ft.executestatement <- function(auth, statement) {
      url = "http://tables.googlelabs.com/api/query"
      params = list( sql = statement)
      connection.string = paste("GoogleLogin auth=", auth, sep="")
      opts = list( httpheader = c("Authorization" = connection.string))
      result = postForm(uri = url, .params = params, .opts = opts)
      if (length(grep("<HTML>\n<HEAD>\n<TITLE>Parse error", result, ignore.case = TRUE))) {
      	stop(paste("incorrect sql statement:", statement))
      }
      return (result)
}

ft.showtables <- function(auth) {
   url = "http://tables.googlelabs.com/api/query"
   params = list( sql = "SHOW TABLES")
   connection.string = paste("GoogleLogin auth=", auth, sep="")
   opts = list( httpheader = c("Authorization" = connection.string))
   result = getForm(uri = url, .params = params, .opts = opts)
   tables = strsplit(result, "\n")
   tableid = c()
   tablename = c()
   for (i in 2:length(tables[[1]])) {
     	str = tables[[c(1,i)]]
   	    tnames = strsplit(str,",")
   	    tableid[i-1] = tnames[[c(1,1)]]
   	    tablename[i-1] = tnames[[c(1,2)]]
   	}
   	tables = data.frame( ids = tableid, names = tablename)
    return (tables)
}

ft.describetablebyid <- function(auth, tid) {
   url = "http://tables.googlelabs.com/api/query"
   params = list( sql = paste("DESCRIBE", tid))
   connection.string = paste("GoogleLogin auth=", auth, sep="")
   opts = list( httpheader = c("Authorization" = connection.string))
   result = getForm(uri = url, .params = params, .opts = opts)
   columns = strsplit(result,"\n")
   colid = c()
   colname = c()
   coltype = c()
   for (i in 2:length(columns[[1]])) {
     	str = columns[[c(1,i)]]
   	    cnames = strsplit(str,",")
   	    colid[i-1] = cnames[[c(1,1)]]
   	    colname[i-1] = cnames[[c(1,2)]]
   	    coltype[i-1] = cnames[[c(1,3)]]
   	}
   	cols = data.frame(ids = colid, names = colname, types = coltype)
    return (cols)
}

ft.describetable <- function (auth, table_name) {
   table_id = ft.idfromtablename(auth, table_name)
   result = ft.describetablebyid(auth, table_id)
   return (result)
}

ft.idfromtablename <- function(auth, table_name) {
    tables = ft.showtables(auth)
	tableid = tables$ids[tables$names == table_name]
	return (tableid)
}

ft.importdata <- function(auth, table_name) {
	tableid = ft.idfromtablename(auth, table_name)
	columns = ft.describetablebyid(auth, tableid)
	column_spec = ""
	for (i in 1:length(columns)) {
		column_spec = paste(column_spec, columns[i, 2])
		if (i < length(columns)) {
			column_spec = paste(column_spec, ",", sep="")
		}
	}
	mdata = matrix(columns$names,
	              nrow = 1, ncol = length(columns),
	              dimnames(list(c("dummy"), columns$names)), byrow=TRUE)
	select = paste("SELECT", column_spec)
	select = paste(select, "FROM")
	select = paste(select, tableid)
	result = ft.executestatement(auth, select)
    numcols = length(columns)
    rows = strsplit(result, "\n")
    for (i in 3:length(rows[[1]])) {
    	row = strsplit(rows[[c(1,i)]], ",")
    	mdata = rbind(mdata, row[[1]])
   	}
   	output.frame = data.frame(mdata[2:length(mdata[,1]), 1])
   	for (i in 2:ncol(mdata)) {
   		output.frame = cbind(output.frame, mdata[2:length(mdata[,i]),i])
   	}
   	colnames(output.frame) = columns$names
    return (output.frame)
}

quote_value <- function(value, to_quote = FALSE, quote = "'") {
	 ret_value = ""
     if (to_quote) {
     	ret_value = paste(quote, paste(value, quote, sep=""), sep="")
     } else {
     	ret_value = value
     }
     return (ret_value)
}

converttostring <- function(arr, separator = ", ", column_types) {
	con_string = ""
	for (i in 1:(length(arr) - 1)) {
		value = quote_value(arr[i], column_types[i] != "number")
		con_string = paste(con_string, value)
	    con_string = paste(con_string, separator, sep="")
	}

    if (length(arr) >= 1) {
    	value = quote_value(arr[length(arr)], column_types[length(arr)] != "NUMBER")
    	con_string = paste(con_string, value)
    }
}

ft.exportdata <- function(auth, input_frame, table_name, create_table) {
	if (create_table) {
       create.table = "CREATE TABLE "
       create.table = paste(create.table, table_name)
       create.table = paste(create.table, "(")
       cnames = colnames(input_frame)
       for (columnname in cnames) {
         create.table = paste(create.table, columnname)
    	 create.table = paste(create.table, ":string", sep="")
    	   if (columnname != cnames[length(cnames)]){
    		  create.table = paste(create.table, ",", sep="")
           }
       }
      create.table = paste(create.table, ")")
      result = ft.executestatement(auth, create.table)
    }
    if (length(input_frame[,1]) > 0) {
    	tableid = ft.idfromtablename(auth, table_name)
	    columns = ft.describetablebyid(auth, tableid)
	    column_spec = ""
	    for (i in 1:length(columns$names)) {
		   column_spec = paste(column_spec, columns[i, 2])
		   if (i < length(columns$names)) {
			  column_spec = paste(column_spec, ",", sep="")
		   }
	    }
    	insert_prefix = "INSERT INTO "
    	insert_prefix = paste(insert_prefix, tableid)
    	insert_prefix = paste(insert_prefix, "(")
    	insert_prefix = paste(insert_prefix, column_spec)
    	insert_prefix = paste(insert_prefix, ") values (")
    	insert_suffix = ");"
    	insert_sql_big = ""
    	for (i in 1:length(input_frame[,1])) {
    		data = unlist(input_frame[i,])
    		values = converttostring(data, column_types  = columns$types)
    		insert_sql = paste(insert_prefix, values)
    		insert_sql = paste(insert_sql, insert_suffix) ;
    		insert_sql_big = paste(insert_sql_big, insert_sql)
    		if (i %% 500 == 0) {
    			ft.executestatement(auth, insert_sql_big)
    			insert_sql_big = ""
    		}
    	}
        ft.executestatement(auth, insert_sql_big)
    }
}

RWui :Creating R Web Interfaces on the go

Here is a great R application created by http://sysbio.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk

R Wui for creating R Web Interfaces

its been there for some time now- but presumably R Apache is more well known.

From-

http://sysbio.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk/Rwui/tutorial/Rwui_Rnews_final.pdf

The web application Rwui is used to create web interfaces  for running R scripts. All the code is generated automatically so that a fully functional web interface for an R script can be downloaded and up and running in a matter of minutes.

Rwui is aimed at R script writers who have scripts that they want people unversed in R to use. The script writer uses Rwui to create a web application that will run their R script. Rwui allows the script writer to do this without them having to do any web application programming, because Rwui generates all the code for them.

The script writer designs the web application to run their R script by entering information on a sequence of web pages. The script writer then downloads the application they have created and installs it on their own server.

http://sysbio.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk/Rwui/tutorial/Technical_Report.pdf

Features of web applications created by Rwui

  1. Whole range of input items available if required – text boxes, checkboxes, file upload etc.
  2. Facility for uploading of an arbitrary number of files (for example, microarray replicates).
  3. Facility for grouping uploaded files (for example, into ‘Diseased’ and ‘Control’ microarray data files).
  4. Results files displayed on results page and available for download.
  5. Results files can be e-mailed to the user.
  6. Interactive results files using image maps.
  7. Repeat analyses with different parameters and data files – new results added to results list, as a link to the corresponding results page.
  8. Real time progress information (text or graphical) displayed when running the application.

Requirements

In order to use the completed web applications created by Rwui you will need:

  1. A Java webserver such as Tomcat version 5.5 or later.
  2. Java version 1.5
  3. R – a version compatible with your R script(s).

Using Rwui

Using Rwui to create a web application for an R script simply involves:

  1. Entering details about your Rscript on a sequence of web pages.
  2. Rwui is quite flexible so you can backtrack, edit and insert, as you design your application.
  3. Rwui then generates the web application, which is Java based and platform independent.
  4. The application can be downloaded either as a .zip or .tgz file.
  5. Unpacked, the download contains all the source code and a .war file.
  6. Once the .war file is copied to the Tomcat webapps directory, the application is ready to use.
  7. Application details are saved in an ‘application definition file’ for reuse and modification.
Interested-
go click and check out a new web app from http://sysbio.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk/Rwui/ in a matter of minutes
Also see

Cloud Computing with R

Illusion of Depth and Space (4/22) - Rotating ...
Image by Dominic's pics via Flickr

Here is a short list of resources and material I put together as starting points for R and Cloud Computing It’s a bit messy but overall should serve quite comprehensively.

Cloud computing is a commonly used expression to imply a generational change in computing from desktop-servers to remote and massive computing connections,shared computers, enabled by high bandwidth across the internet.

As per the National Institute of Standards and Technology Definition,
Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

(Citation: The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing

Authors: Peter Mell and Tim Grance
Version 15, 10-7-09
National Institute of Standards and Technology, Information Technology Laboratory
http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/SNS/cloud-computing/cloud-def-v15.doc)

R is an integrated suite of software facilities for data manipulation, calculation and graphical display.

From http://cran.r-project.org/doc/FAQ/R-FAQ.html#R-Web-Interfaces

R Web Interfaces

Rweb is developed and maintained by Jeff Banfield. The Rweb Home Page provides access to all three versions of Rweb—a simple text entry form that returns output and graphs, a more sophisticated JavaScript version that provides a multiple window environment, and a set of point and click modules that are useful for introductory statistics courses and require no knowledge of the R language. All of the Rweb versions can analyze Web accessible datasets if a URL is provided.
The paper “Rweb: Web-based Statistical Analysis”, providing a detailed explanation of the different versions of Rweb and an overview of how Rweb works, was published in the Journal of Statistical Software (http://www.jstatsoft.org/v04/i01/).

Ulf Bartel has developed R-Online, a simple on-line programming environment for R which intends to make the first steps in statistical programming with R (especially with time series) as easy as possible. There is no need for a local installation since the only requirement for the user is a JavaScript capable browser. See http://osvisions.com/r-online/ for more information.

Rcgi is a CGI WWW interface to R by MJ Ray. It had the ability to use “embedded code”: you could mix user input and code, allowing the HTMLauthor to do anything from load in data sets to enter most of the commands for users without writing CGI scripts. Graphical output was possible in PostScript or GIF formats and the executed code was presented to the user for revision. However, it is not clear if the project is still active.

Currently, a modified version of Rcgi by Mai Zhou (actually, two versions: one with (bitmap) graphics and one without) as well as the original code are available from http://www.ms.uky.edu/~statweb/.

CGI-based web access to R is also provided at http://hermes.sdu.dk/cgi-bin/go/. There are many additional examples of web interfaces to R which basically allow to submit R code to a remote server, see for example the collection of links available from http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/twiki/bin/view/Main/StatCompCourse.

David Firth has written CGIwithR, an R add-on package available from CRAN. It provides some simple extensions to R to facilitate running R scripts through the CGI interface to a web server, and allows submission of data using both GET and POST methods. It is easily installed using Apache under Linux and in principle should run on any platform that supports R and a web server provided that the installer has the necessary security permissions. David’s paper “CGIwithR: Facilities for Processing Web Forms Using R” was published in the Journal of Statistical Software (http://www.jstatsoft.org/v08/i10/). The package is now maintained by Duncan Temple Lang and has a web page athttp://www.omegahat.org/CGIwithR/.

Rpad, developed and actively maintained by Tom Short, provides a sophisticated environment which combines some of the features of the previous approaches with quite a bit of JavaScript, allowing for a GUI-like behavior (with sortable tables, clickable graphics, editable output), etc.
Jeff Horner is working on the R/Apache Integration Project which embeds the R interpreter inside Apache 2 (and beyond). A tutorial and presentation are available from the project web page at http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/twiki/bin/view/Main/RApacheProject.

Rserve is a project actively developed by Simon Urbanek. It implements a TCP/IP server which allows other programs to use facilities of R. Clients are available from the web site for Java and C++ (and could be written for other languages that support TCP/IP sockets).

OpenStatServer is being developed by a team lead by Greg Warnes; it aims “to provide clean access to computational modules defined in a variety of computational environments (R, SAS, Matlab, etc) via a single well-defined client interface” and to turn computational services into web services.

Two projects use PHP to provide a web interface to R. R_PHP_Online by Steve Chen (though it is unclear if this project is still active) is somewhat similar to the above Rcgi and Rweb. R-php is actively developed by Alfredo Pontillo and Angelo Mineo and provides both a web interface to R and a set of pre-specified analyses that need no R code input.

webbioc is “an integrated web interface for doing microarray analysis using several of the Bioconductor packages” and is designed to be installed at local sites as a shared computing resource.

Rwui is a web application to create user-friendly web interfaces for R scripts. All code for the web interface is created automatically. There is no need for the user to do any extra scripting or learn any new scripting techniques. Rwui can also be found at http://rwui.cryst.bbk.ac.uk.

Finally, the R.rsp package by Henrik Bengtsson introduces “R Server Pages”. Analogous to Java Server Pages, an R server page is typically HTMLwith embedded R code that gets evaluated when the page is requested. The package includes an internal cross-platform HTTP server implemented in Tcl, so provides a good framework for including web-based user interfaces in packages. The approach is similar to the use of the brew package withRapache with the advantage of cross-platform support and easy installation.

Also additional R Cloud Computing Use Cases
http://wwwdev.ebi.ac.uk/Tools/rcloud/

ArrayExpress R/Bioconductor Workbench

Remote access to R/Bioconductor on EBI’s 64-bit Linux Cluster

Start the workbench by downloading the package for your operating system (Macintosh or Windows), or via Java Web Start, and you will get access to an instance of R running on one of EBI’s powerful machines. You can install additional packages, upload your own data, work with graphics and collaborate with colleagues, all as if you are running R locally, but unlimited by your machine’s memory, processor or data storage capacity.

  • Most up-to-date R version built for multicore CPUs
  • Access to all Bioconductor packages
  • Access to our computing infrastructure
  • Fast access to data stored in EBI’s repositories (e.g., public microarray data in ArrayExpress)

Using R Google Docs
http://www.omegahat.org/RGoogleDocs/run.pdf
It uses the XML and RCurl packages and illustrates that it is relatively quick and easy
to use their primitives to interact with Web services.

Using R with Amazon
Citation
http://rgrossman.com/2009/05/17/running-r-on-amazons-ec2/

Amazon’s EC2 is a type of cloud that provides on demand computing infrastructures called an Amazon Machine Images or AMIs. In general, these types of cloud provide several benefits:

  • Simple and convenient to use. An AMI contains your applications, libraries, data and all associated configuration settings. You simply access it. You don’t need to configure it. This applies not only to applications like R, but also can include any third-party data that you require.
  • On-demand availability. AMIs are available over the Internet whenever you need them. You can configure the AMIs yourself without involving the service provider. You don’t need to order any hardware and set it up.
  • Elastic access. With elastic access, you can rapidly provision and access the additional resources you need. Again, no human intervention from the service provider is required. This type of elastic capacity can be used to handle surge requirements when you might need many machines for a short time in order to complete a computation.
  • Pay per use. The cost of 1 AMI for 100 hours and 100 AMI for 1 hour is the same. With pay per use pricing, which is sometimes called utility pricing, you simply pay for the resources that you use.

Connecting to R on Amazon EC2- Detailed tutorials
Ubuntu Linux version
https://decisionstats.com/2010/09/25/running-r-on-amazon-ec2/
and Windows R version
https://decisionstats.com/2010/10/02/running-r-on-amazon-ec2-windows/

Connecting R to Data on Google Storage and Computing on Google Prediction API
https://github.com/onertipaday/predictionapirwrapper
R wrapper for working with Google Prediction API

This package consists in a bunch of functions allowing the user to test Google Prediction API from R.
It requires the user to have access to both Google Storage for Developers and Google Prediction API:
see
http://code.google.com/apis/storage/ and http://code.google.com/apis/predict/ for details.

Example usage:

#This example requires you had previously created a bucket named data_language on your Google Storage and you had uploaded a CSV file named language_id.txt (your data) into this bucket – see for details
library(predictionapirwrapper)

and Elastic R for Cloud Computing
http://user2010.org/tutorials/Chine.html

Abstract

Elastic-R is a new portal built using the Biocep-R platform. It enables statisticians, computational scientists, financial analysts, educators and students to use cloud resources seamlessly; to work with R engines and use their full capabilities from within simple browsers; to collaborate, share and reuse functions, algorithms, user interfaces, R sessions, servers; and to perform elastic distributed computing with any number of virtual machines to solve computationally intensive problems.
Also see Karim Chine’s http://biocep-distrib.r-forge.r-project.org/

R for Salesforce.com

At the point of writing this, there seem to be zero R based apps on Salesforce.com This could be a big opportunity for developers as both Apex and R have similar structures Developers could write free code in R and charge for their translated version in Apex on Salesforce.com

Force.com and Salesforce have many (1009) apps at
http://sites.force.com/appexchange/home for cloud computing for
businesses, but very few forecasting and statistical simulation apps.

Example of Monte Carlo based app is here
http://sites.force.com/appexchange/listingDetail?listingId=a0N300000016cT9EAI#

These are like iPhone apps except meant for business purposes (I am
unaware if any university is offering salesforce.com integration
though google apps and amazon related research seems to be on)

Force.com uses a language called Apex  and you can see
http://wiki.developerforce.com/index.php/App_Logic and
http://wiki.developerforce.com/index.php/An_Introduction_to_Formulas
Apex is similar to R in that is OOPs

SAS Institute has an existing product for taking in Salesforce.com data.

A new SAS data surveyor is
available to access data from the Customer Relationship Management
(CRM) software vendor Salesforce.com. at
http://support.sas.com/documentation/cdl/en/whatsnew/62580/HTML/default/viewer.htm#datasurveyorwhatsnew902.htm)

Personal Note-Mentioning SAS in an email to a R list is a big no-no in terms of getting a response and love. Same for being careless about which R help list to email (like R devel or R packages or R help)

For python based cloud see http://pi-cloud.com

Is 21 st century cloud computing same as 1960’s time sharing

Diagram showing three main types of cloud comp...
Image via Wikipedia

and yes Prof Goodnight, cloud computing is not time sharing. (Dr J was on a roll there- bashing open source AND cloud computing in the SAME interview at http://www.cbronline.com/news/sas-ceo-says-cep-open-source-and-cloud-bi-have-limited-appeal)

What was time sharing? In the 1960’s when people had longer hair, listened to the Beatles and IBM actually owned ALL computers-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-sharing

or is it?

The Internet has brought the general concept of time-sharing back into popularity. Expensive corporate server farms costing millions can host thousands of customers all sharing the same common resources. As with the early serial terminals, websites operate primarily in bursts of activity followed by periods of idle time. This bursting nature permits the service to be used by many website customers at once, and none of them notice any delays in communications until the servers start to get very busy.

What is 21 st century cloud computing? Well… they are still writing papers to define it BUT http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

Cloud computing is Web-based processing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices (such as smartphones) on demand over the Internet.

 

 

Is 21 st century cloud computing same as 1960's time sharing

Diagram showing three main types of cloud comp...
Image via Wikipedia

and yes Prof Goodnight, cloud computing is not time sharing. (Dr J was on a roll there- bashing open source AND cloud computing in the SAME interview at http://www.cbronline.com/news/sas-ceo-says-cep-open-source-and-cloud-bi-have-limited-appeal)

What was time sharing? In the 1960’s when people had longer hair, listened to the Beatles and IBM actually owned ALL computers-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-sharing

or is it?

The Internet has brought the general concept of time-sharing back into popularity. Expensive corporate server farms costing millions can host thousands of customers all sharing the same common resources. As with the early serial terminals, websites operate primarily in bursts of activity followed by periods of idle time. This bursting nature permits the service to be used by many website customers at once, and none of them notice any delays in communications until the servers start to get very busy.

What is 21 st century cloud computing? Well… they are still writing papers to define it BUT http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

Cloud computing is Web-based processing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices (such as smartphones) on demand over the Internet.