Raising Qatar’s profile as an emerging research hub in the Middle East, the Qatar Cloud Computing Center based in the Education City was officially launched yesterday.
The Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Texas A&M University at Qatar and the Qatar University have partnered with IBM to offer Cloud Computing solutions in Qatar that enable management of larger data at lower costs.
Cloud, which is described as a new paradigm in computing, helps speed up projects and research initiatives that were once constrained by time, limited or unavailable resources, and inadequate systems, said Willy Chiu, vice president, IBM Cloud Labs, addressing a press conference yesterday.
The Qatar Cloud Computing Initiative will open up its cloud infrastructure to local businesses and industries to test applications and complete various projects, including seismic modelling and exploration for oil and gas.
The centre is operational and initially located at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMUQ). The three universities will collaborate, along with a community of industry experts, researchers and clients, to develop a cloud solution to help solve the industry’s problems.
“We are very excited to be working with IBM on creating the first cloud computing platform in the Middle East,” said Associate Teaching Professor Majd F Sakr at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.
“This will help us realise our vision of developing, evaluating, and extending a cloud computing infrastructure in Qatar to target regional applications and projects to help advance research,” he added.
Established through an initial funding from CMUQ and IBM, the centre aims to develop into a full-scale facility by 2010, offering cloud solutions to the public, said Sakr.
The anticipated uses of the Qatar Cloud Computing Center for advanced research include search, data mining, scientific modelling and simulation, computational biology, and financial modelling and forecasting.
In addition, the centre will focus on five pilot application projects — seismic modelling and exploration for oil and gas; integrated production operation solutions for oil and gas industries; an Arabic language web search engine; testing various applications using Hadoop/MapReduce programming methods; creating a curriculum to teach cloud computing at universities
“Engaging with IBM and leveraging their expertise will help us work with government and business agencies in Qatar to outsource their computations to a high-end data centre without worrying about data confidentiality,” said Dr Qutaibah Malluhi, Head of Computer Science and Engineering Department, Qatar University.
“We are looking forward to working with IBM on pioneering cloud computing research in Qatar and the Middle East,” said Professor Hussein Alnuweiri of Texas A&M University at Qatar. “Our research is focussed on developing methods for coordinating and scheduling multiple task streams on the cloud computing infrastructure. These methods will provide the main enabling technology for mapping large-scale and time-critical industrial and commercial applications into the cloud.”
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