Through the NSF's Cluster Exploratory, or CLuE, program, the universities will use software and services running on the IBM-Google data center. The companies launched the joint university initiative in 2007 to help teach computer science students.
Jeannette Wing, the assistant director for computer and information science and engineering at NSF, said academic researchers have said they need access to massively scaled computing infrastructures to complete data-intensive projects and research activities.
“We are pleased to provide the awards to these 14 universities, enabling researchers to engage with and explore this emerging and pervasive model of computing," Wing said in a statement.
The university projects that will tap IBM-Google computers over the Internet will be exploring a variety of areas, including image processing, large-scale data analysis, improving the Internet, and human genome sequencing.
For example, grant recipient University of Maryland, College Park, is working on a more effective translation system for converting text from one language into another. The University of Virginia is working on image processing software for zooming in on digital images to reveal distortion-free details not seen on the original.
Other universities receiving the CLuE grants are Carnegie-Mellon University, Florida International University, MIT, Purdue University, University of California at Irvine, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, University of Massachusetts, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, University of Utah, and Yale University.
The IBM-Google cloud runs on Linux-based machines using Xen virtualization and Apache Hadoop, an open source implementation of the Google File System.
InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on how to future-proof your data center. Download the report here (registration required).