NSF wants to test-drive the cloud of the future

NSF wants to test-drive the cloud of the future

The National Science Foundation is looking for projects that push the envelope on cloud computing. To help advance cloud technology, the NSF recently announced that its “future cloud” prototype environments are now available to help researchers "develop and experiment with novel cloud architectures ... [and] go beyond the use of existing commercial cloud offerings ... to influence such offerings in the future."

The prototypes are part of the NSFFutureCloud initiative, which NSF  announced in 2013 to help the academic research community explore resource sharing in clustered computing, virtualization and the interplay among applications architectures and the physical environment.

They build on the projects that NSF funded in 2014.  Chameleon is a large-scale, reconfigurable experimental environment for cloud research co-located at the University of Chicago and the University of Texas at Austin, and CloudLab is a large-scale, distributed infrastructure based at the University of Utah, Clemson University and the University of Wisconsin.

Both systems are now open for use, with application instructions available on their websites, and are expected to reach full capacity around December 2015, NSF said.

The cloud prototypes can also help advance research across areas of cloud computing, including:

  • Cloud architectures and systems, including data portability, interoperability and standardization.
  • Geo-distributed data storage and data movement.
  • Energy efficiency of the cloud and the effects of variable power sources.
  • Security, privacy, authentication and auditing issues in a cloud-based environment.
  • Real-time, safety, stability, and reliability requirements in cyber-physical systems interacting with the cloud.
  • Mobile cloud systems.
  • Foundational issues and innovative applications of big data.

Some of this research can lead to future developments of cloud applications and architecture innovation, as well as new techniques and approaches for handling common cloud concerns like scalability, quality, elasticity, privacy and availability.

NSF encourages researchers to reference the cloud’s new prototypes when working with and submitting proposals to NSF programs such as computer systems research, cyber-physical systems, networking technology and systems, secure and trustworthy cyberspace and more.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.


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