Collaborating in the cloud
UNT is one of the first universities in the nation to co-host high-performance computing with data science and analytics services in one office. This unique capacity under the name of Research IT Services was formed under the guidance of Philip Baczewski, executive director of University IT. RITS brings together UNT experts in data science and analytics with high-performance computing into one collaborative team.
With the addition of Ravi Vadapalli, director of RITS, in May, Baczewski’s newly-formed team now has the capacity to offer innovative industry-research partnership opportunities. The research computing services team provides academic researchers and industry members access to new avenues of research computing capabilities, applications and expert consulting services in addition to the access to the supercomputer, storage and visualization assets.
“Emerging applications are pushing to integrate high-performance computing with data-intensive analytics,” says Vadapalli. “We call it integrated modeling and analytics in the cloud with autonomic computing.”
Autonomic computing, which is self-managed computing, creates systems that run themselves, capable of high-level functioning while keeping the user interface simple. This can be compared to the way the autonomic nervous system functions in the human body without the individual being aware.
UNT’s new affiliate status in the National Science Foundation Cloud and Autonomic Computing Center is one such collaboration with Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, and the University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz. The CAC Center is enabled through the NSF’s Industry-University Cooperative Research Center program. Vadapalli was a site director of the CAC Center for more than four years at Texas Tech before joining UNT. Universidad de Sonora, Sonora, Mexico, is an international partner site in CAC supported through CONACYT, an NSF counterpart program of the Mexican government.
Vadapalli says UNT’s facilities, unique capabilities and its proximity to Dallas-Fort Worth’s high-tech community is why he worked to bring the NSF-CAC Center to UNT, which was approved as an affiliate site in October. UNT seeks to join as a fully-approved NSF site through an application process that will take place in the spring of 2019. Joining as a full member will allow UNT to receive NSF IUCRC funding as well.
The NSF IUCRC is founded on leveraging higher-education innovation capacity by industry-research partnerships that lead to new business development, technology transfer, workforce training and commercialization opportunities. UNT now is seeking industry members to join CAC as new members. In this program, industry members leverage UNT’s research and innovation capacity, world-class equipment and facilities to solve their business challenges. Together, university and industry members help create new businesses, technologies and commercialization opportunities. They also receive the new discoveries and technologies first as well as access to prospective employees, the graduate and post-doctoral students who are often the most familiar with the project.
UNT benefits from industry-sponsored research funding and real-world projects for students. The collaborative environment provides solutions to business problems and stimulates and the economy.
An industry advisory board, IAB, meets semi-annually during spring and fall semesters as a part of governing CAC research activities. During the fall 2018 IAB meeting at UNT (http://cac.unt.edu/iab),several industry members expressed great interest in cloud and edge computing, trustworthy information sharing in social media and dependable computing technologies such as machine learning enabled storage resilience and autonomous and connected vehicles. Song Fu and Yang Qing of UNT’s Computer Science and Engineering Department are leading many of these research areas at UNT.
The Research IT Services office plans to host an open house Nov. 29 to showcase the services they provide with a focus on pairing IT expertise with non-STEM domains. UNT community members and industry representatives who are interested in learning more are encouraged to visit https://it.unt.edu/rcs-openhouse-2018 for more information or contact Vadapalli at email@example.com with questions.