I wanted to setup an AWS cluster to take a shot at a Kaggle contest – DunnHumby Challenge
For this, I found StarCluster to be of great help. It allows you to set-up AWS nodes in a few lines of code and does much more (choosing AMIs and cluster configurations)
Make sure you use the Bioconductor AMI which comes bundled with R and a host of installed packages.
I used the package “snowfall” for parallel processing.
Relevant SO questions I had asked