The National Science Foundation (NSF), through its Cluster Exploratory (CLuE) program, recently awarded grants totaling $5 million to UCSB and 13 other universities. The grants will fund university participation in the IBM/Google Cloud Computing University Initiative, which aims to train computer science students in the field of cloud computing.
Cloud computing refers to a system in which Internet users access applications on the Web instead of owning and storing them on personal machines. The IBM/Google University Initiative will teach students to build and perfect their own cloud applications.
This new system enables users to access large, data-intensive application domains and the computers to manage them. UCSB’s Massive Graphs in Clusters (MAGIC) project, which will draw funding from the recent NSF grant, is developing software that can respond to user queries for information located in large data centers.
Ben Zhao, assistant professor of computer science at UCSB, explained in a press release that most Internet users are unaware that they probably use cloud computing systems daily. He cited Amazon.com, Facebook.com, and Gmail.com as examples of applications that run because of the cloud networking structure.
He also explained that existing cloud computing infrastructure is perhaps not capable of efficiently managing queries on a large scale, and that the university initiative intends to develop software that can.
“One interesting aspect of this proposal is that it comes from the NSF with the support of IBM and Google,” Zhao said. “We’re working on really large-scale systems, the kind that only large companies like IBM and Google have. We’ll have access to 1,600 machines from IBM and Google data centers, and we’ll be able to run extremely large- scale experiments on them.”
Other universities participating in the University Initiative include UC Irvine, UC San Diego, Carnegie-Mellon University, Florida International University, MIT, Purdue University, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts, University of Virginia, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, University of Utah, and Yale University.