Three of the tech world's biggest companies are joining resources to drive forward cloud computing.

Intel, Yahoo and HP are to create six virtual research centres for cloud computing.

Here, pre-selected researchers will work on ways to brng cloud computing to the masses including testing new applications including online storage.

"Cloud computing represents a new era of computing. Working at that kind of scale means there will be many unanswered questions and raise new problems for computer science", John Manley, director of HP's strategic research lab told the BBC.

"We want to create an environment that can begin to answer some of these challenges," he added.

He continues: "web democratised creativity and allowed anyone to create something new and innovative. Cloud computing is the next stage for that".

"To my mind it is the natural evolution of the internet and if we look back in 15 years time we will be astounded by what cloud computing has allowed to happen."

Intel, Yahoo and HP will each host one of the centres and the other three will be at the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, the University of Illinois, and the Steinbuch Centre for Computing in Germany.

Each of the centres will provide between 1000 to 4000 computers, and they will be fully operational later this year.