UTSA and Indiana Univ. partner on $6.6M grant to build advanced computing systems

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(Jan. 23, 2015) - The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is partnering with Indiana University on a $6.6 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to build cloud-based advanced computing systems for the science and engineering community.

In 2013, the UTSA Cloud and Big Data Laboratory was established to support cloud computing and big data research and development. The laboratory, supported in large part by industry, 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.

With the new grant, thousands of researchers will have easy access to advanced computing tools in a new OpenStack-based cloud environment.

The NSF’s Jetstream project, based at Indiana University’s Pervasive Technology Institute and the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), will add cloud-based computation for a team of the nation’s leading cyberinfrastructure experts, software providers and application scientists. The researchers will create virtual machines with advanced computing capabilities on a remote resource, similar to what is found on a laboratory workstation or home computer.

"The cloud is at the earliest stage of adoption and the phenomenon is going to change the shape of industry, as well as our lives," said Paul Rad, director of the Cloud and Big Data Laboratory in the UTSA Department of Computer Science. "As a leading cloud university in collaboration with industry leaders such as Rackspace, Mellanox, Seagate, Servergy and others, we are very excited to be working closely with Indiana University and UT-Austin to build a SuperCloud like Jetstream. It will provide scientists and engineers with easy access to advanced computing, and it supports our mission of providing world-class education, outstanding research and economic contributions to the region and the nation."

Jetstream is a response to the needs of the scientific computing community for more high-end, large-scale computing resources.

“Jetstream will be based on OpenStack and as a result will be at the forefront of new cloud technology,” said Craig Stewart, PTI executive director and associate dean for research technologies at Indiana University. “UTSA and the Cloud and Big Data Laboratory are critical partners in Jetstream and will be leaders in testing, evaluating and implementation of new OpenStack capabilities. We are very pleased to have such a fine institution working with the Jetstream team on this project. The fact that UTSA is a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) and has some of the best Hispanic graduate students in the nation is an added bonus as we seek to develop an excellent 21st century workforce for the U.S.”

Other partnering institutions include the University of Chicago, the University of Arizona, John’s Hopkins University, Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Hawaii, the University of North Carolina Odum Institute, the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the National Center for Genome Analysis Support.

To learn more, visit the NSF Jetstream project.

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