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Press Release 08-031
NSF Partners With Google and IBM to Enhance Academic Research Opportunities

Computer science researchers at universities and colleges will be able to utilize large-scale computing cluster

February 25, 2008

Today the National Science Foundation's Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate announced the creation of a strategic relationship with Google Inc. and IBM. The Cluster Exploratory (CluE) relationship will enable the academic research community to conduct experiments and test new theories and ideas using a large-scale, massively distributed computing cluster.

In an open letter to the academic computing research community, Jeannette Wing, the assistant director at NSF for CISE, said that the relationship will give the academic computer science research community access to resources that would be unavailable to it otherwise.

"Access to the Google-IBM academic cluster via the CluE program will provide the academic community with the opportunity to do research in data-intensive computing and to explore powerful new applications," Wing said. "It can also serve as a tool for educating the next generation of scientists and engineers."

"Google is proud to partner with the National Science Foundation to provide computing resources to the academic research community," said Stuart Feldman, vice president of engineering at Google Inc. "It is our hope that research conducted using this cluster will allow researchers across many fields to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by large-scale, distributed computing."

"Extending the Google/IBM academic program with the National Science Foundation should accelerate research on Internet-scale computing and drive innovation to fuel the applications of the future," said Willy Chiu, vice president of IBM Software Strategy and High Performance On Demand Solutions. "IBM is pleased to be collaborating with the NSF on this project."

In October of last year, Google and IBM created a large-scale computer cluster of approximately 1600 processors to give the academic community access to otherwise prohibitively expensive resources. Fundamental changes in computer architecture and increases in network capacity are encouraging software developers to take new approaches to computer-science problem solving. In order to bridge the gap between industry and academia, it is imperative that academic researchers are exposed to the emerging computing paradigm behind the growth of "Internet-scale" applications.

This new relationship with NSF will expand access to this research infrastructure to academic institutions across the nation. In an effort to create greater awareness of research opportunities using data-intensive computing, the CISE directorate will solicit proposals from academic researchers. NSF will then select the researchers to have access to the cluster and provide support to the researchers to conduct their work. Google and IBM will cover the costs associated with operating the cluster and will provide other support to the researchers. NSF will not provide any funding to Google or IBM for these activities.

While the timeline for releasing the formal request for proposals to the academic community is still being developed, NSF anticipates being able to support 10 to 15 research projects in the first year of the program, and will likely expand the number of projects in the future.

Information about the Google-IBM Academic Cluster Computing Initiative can be found at http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/pressrel/20071008_ibm_univ.html

According to Wing, NSF hopes the relationship may provide a blueprint for future collaborations between the academic computing research community and private industry. "We welcome any comparable offers from industry that offer the same potential for transformative research outcomes," Wing said.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Dana W. Cruikshank, NSF, (703) 292-8070, dcruiksh@nsf.gov

Program Contacts
Jim French, NSF, (703) 292-8930, jfrench@nsf.gov

Related Websites
Information about the Google-IBM Academic Cluster Computing Initiative can be found here:: http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/pressrel/20071008_ibm_univ.html

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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