IBM makes cloud computing available to academia

Jeff Rice, executive director of career management at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business—one of IBM’s 20 participants—said increasing student familiarity with cloud computing will be essential as the business world embraces the technology and gravitates away from traditional private networks.

“The ability to apply technology will be essential to differentiate our graduates as they prepare to enter the work force,” Rice said. “Fisher College has established multiple research centers where faculty, students, and business leaders can collaborate on contemporary business issues. Several of these centers focus on implementing technologies to improve business processes or commercializing new technologies.”

In April, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded $5 million to 14 campuses to participate in the IBM/Google Cloud Computing University Initiative, which provides students and researchers with computing power for data-rich projects that sometimes bog down average computers.

The University of California-Irvine, Yale University, the University of California-San Diego, and Purdue University are among the schools that will use the IBM/Google Cloud Computing University for research engineering, science, and a range of other fields.

The IBM-higher education partnership comes days after Microsoft began accepting applications from university researchers in need to cloud-computing resources.

Researchers and academic teams chosen by NSF officials will use Microsoft Azure, a program that offers enormous data storage and computing capabilities using the corporation’s data centers. (See “Microsoft opens its cloud to researchers.”)

Along with access to Windows Azure for a three-year period, Microsoft will offer a support team to help researchers integrate cloud technology into their research. Microsoft researchers and developers will work with grant recipients to give them a set of common applications and data collections that can be shared with the broad academic community.

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