The Qatar Cloud Computing Initiative, driven by three universities, will open up its cloud infrastructure to local businesses and industries to test applications and complete various projects, including seismic modeling and the exploration for oil and gas.
Another university, the University of Pretoria, is using cloud computing to test the development of drugs to slow the progression of serious illnesses.
In addition to the work IBM will do at the Qatar Cloud Computing Center and University of Pretoria, IBM is also working with The Higher Education Alliance for Leadership Through Health (HEALTH Alliance) in East Africa and Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan to use cloud computing.
One of the first projects to bring cloud computing to the Middle East, the Qatar Cloud Computing Initiative, is operational and initially located at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Qatar University, and Texas A&M University at Qatar will collaborate on this environment, along with a community of industry experts, researchers and clients, to develop a cloud solution to help solve industry 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 Dr. Majd F. Sakr at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. “This will help us realize our vision of developing, evaluating, and extending a cloud computing infrastructure in Qatar to target regional applications and projects to help advance research.”
Among the many anticipated uses of the Qatar Cloud Computing Center for advanced research include search, data mining, scientific modeling and simulation, computational biology, and financial modeling and forecasting. In addition, five pilot application projects have been identified to focus on:
• Seismic modeling and exploration for oil and gas
• Integrated production operation solutions for oil and gas industries
• Arabic language web search engine
• Test and migrate various applications using Hadoop / MapReduce programming methods
• Create curriculum to teach cloud computing at universities
“This collaboration will support the Secure and Reliable Server-Aided Computation project from Qatar University, which are techniques businesses can use to outsource computationally intensive tasks to a server in a secure way,” said Dr. Qutaibah Malluhi, Head of Computer Science and Engineering Department, Qatar University. “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 center without worrying about data confidentiality.”
The development of this cloud computing center will be based on a phased approach. Initially, the universities will collaborate with IBM on building the infrastructure. Next, they will collaborate on developing applications that will leverage the Hadoop programming model as a first step in improving the local knowledge of this new programming model.
“We are looking forward to working with IBM on pioneering cloud computing research in Qatar and the Middle East,” said Texas A&M University at Qatar Professor Hussein Alnuweiri. “Our research is focused 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.”