UTSA partners on $10M NSF grant to create cloud-computing testbed

Paul Rad

Paul Rad

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(Sept. 18, 2014) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is one of five institutions nationwide partnering on a $10 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to create a cloud-computing testbed that will let researchers develop and experiment with new cloud architectures and applications.

The NSFCloud project, based at the University of Chicago and the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin, will support the design, deployment and initial operation of Chameleon, a large-scale testbed consisting of 650 cloud nodes and five petabytes of storage. One petabyte is the equivalent of 1,000 terabytes. Petabytes are commonly used to measure the total data stored in large computer networks or server farms.

Paul Rad, co-principal investigator for Chameleon and UTSA director of applied research in cloud and big-data computing, will lead training and outreach efforts for the project. Other research partners include The Ohio State University and Northwestern University.

"Cloud is at the earliest stage of adoption," said Rad, "It's a phenomenon that is going to change the shape not only of industry but of our lives, and that is why the National Science Foundation thinks scientists and engineers need their own cloud."

Researchers in the UTSA Cloud and Big Data Laboratory will configure portions of Chameleon and create clouds using customized software. Scientific communities will use the testbed to analyze data on a variety of issues ranging from machine learning and adaptive operating systems to climate simulations and flood prediction. The testbed also will allow researchers to experiment with new virtualization technologies that could improve cloud reliability, security and performance.

The UTSA Cloud and Big Data Laboratory was established to support cloud computing and big-data research and development. The laboratory, developed in large part through industry collaboration, helps the international business community improve its computing platforms through open-source hardware and cloud and big-data technologies such as Open Compute, OpenStack and Software Defined Network.


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