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IBM and Google Boost Cloud Computing: "Universities Really Need To Get On Board"

IBM and Google are investing to build large data centers that students can tap into

"Google is excited to partner with IBM to provide resources which will better equip students and researchers to address today’s developing computational challenges," said Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, as IBM and Google announced a major research initiative to provide the technical training needed for the kind of high-performance computing both companies are famous for: "Internet-scale" or "cloud" computing.

 "In order to most effectively serve the long-term interests of our users, it is imperative that students are adequately equipped to harness the potential of modern computing systems and for researchers to be able to innovate ways to address emerging problems," Schmidt added.

"This project combines IBM’s historic strengths in scientific, business and secure-transaction computing with Google’s complementary expertise in Web computing and massively scaled clusters," said Samuel J. Palmisano, chairman, president and chief executive officer, IBM. "We’re aiming to train tomorrow’s programmers to write software that can support a tidal wave of global Web growth and trillions of secure transactions every day."

The initiative will involve Carnegie Mellon, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Maryland and the University of Washington.

Between them,  the two companies have dedicated a large cluster of several hundred computers (a combination of Google machines and IBM BladeCenter and System x servers) that is planned to grow to more than 1,600 processors. 

Students will access the cluster via the Internet to test their parallel programming course projects. The servers will run open source software including the Linux operating system, XEN systems virtualization and Apache’s Hadoop project, an open source implementation of Google’s published computing infrastructure, specifically MapReduce and the Google File System (GFS).

The goal of the initiative is to improve computer science students’ knowledge of highly parallel computing practices to better address the emerging paradigm of large-scale ("Internet scale") distributed computing, often known as "cloud computing." 

With their combined resources, the companies hope to lower the financial and logistical barriers for the academic community to explore this emerging model of computing.

“We in academia and the government labs have not kept up with the times,” Randal E. Bryant, dean of the computer science school at Carnegie Mellon University, told the New York Times over the weekend, as IBM and Google announced a major research initiative to provide the technical training needed for the kind of high-performance computing both companies are famous for. “Universities really need to get on board,” Bryant added.













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