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This paper explores cloud computing for large-scale data intensive scientific applications. Cloud computing is attractive because it provides hardware and software resources on-demand, which relieves the burden of acquiring and maintaining a huge amount of resources that may be used only once by a scientific application. However, unlike typical commercial applications that often just requires a moderate amount of ordinary resources, large-scale scientific applications often need to process enormous amount of data in the terabyte or even petabyte range and require special high performance hardware with low latency connections to complete computation in a reasonable amount of time. To address these challenges, we build an infrastructure that can dynamically select high performance computing hardware across institutions and dynamically adapt the computation to the selected resources to achieve high performance. We have also demonstrated the effectiveness of our infrastructure by building a system biology application and an uncertainty quantification application for carbon sequestration, which can efficiently utilize data and computation resources across several institutions.