Yahoo Inks JV with Computational Research Labs

Yahoo Inc. and Computational Research Laboratories (CRL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Limited, today announced an agreement to jointly support cloud computing research. As part of the agreement, CRL will make available to researchers one of the world’s top five supercomputers that has substantially more processors than any supercomputer currently available for cloud computing research.

This effort is the first of its kind in terms of the size and scale of the machine, and the first in making available a supercomputer to academic institutions in India. The Yahoo!/CRL effort is intended to leverage CRL’s expertise in high performance computing and Yahoo!’s technical leadership in Apache Hadoop, an open source distributed computing project of the Apache Software Foundation, to enable scientists to perform data-intensive computing research on a 14,400 processor supercomputer.

Called the EKA, CRL’s supercomputer is ranked the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world – it has 14,400 processors, 28 terabytes of memory, 140 terabytes of disks, a peak performance of 180 trillion calculations per second (180 teraflops), and sustained computation capacity of 120 teraflops for the LINPACK benchmark. Of the top ten supercomputers in the world, EKA is the only supercomputer funded by the private sector and is available for use on commercial terms. EKA is expected to run the latest version of Hadoop and other state-of-the-art, Yahoo!-supported, open-source distributed computing software such as the Pig parallel programming language developed by Yahoo! Research.

“The Tata group has always contributed to scientific research in India, and the EKA will strengthen this cause further in the field of cloud computing. This partnership brings together Yahoo!’s leadership role in the development of Hadoop and CRL’s expertise in high performance computing, and will help bridge the gap between traditional supercomputing and cloud computing research in India,” said S. Ramadorai, chairman of CRL.

“We are excited to partner with Yahoo! to advance cloud computing research in India as it opens up a new arena of exciting opportunities,” said Dr. Gautam Shroff, member of the steering committee of CRL. “We are initiating dialogue with leading Indian academic institutions to collaborate on research using cloud computing.”

This Yahoo!/CRL announcement comes on the eve of the first ever Hadoop Summit. Sponsored by Yahoo! and the Computing Community Consortium (CCC), which is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Hadoop Summit brings together leaders from the Hadoop developer and user communities to discuss current projects and future directions of this cloud computing environment. Concurrently, the first Data-Intensive Computing Symposium, also sponsored by CCC and Yahoo!, gathers on Yahoo!’s campus leading industry and academic experts from all aspects of data-intensive computing. The symposium is part of a larger effort to explore opportunities for research and application of large-scale computing to benefit applications ranging from machine translation to genomic medicine.

“We have made our leadership in supporting academic, cloud computing research very concrete by sharing a 4,000-processor supercomputer with computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University for the last three months. With this supercomputing cluster, researchers were able to analyze hundreds of millions of Web documents and handle two orders of magnitude more data than they previous could,” said Ron Brachman, vice president and head of academic relations for Yahoo!. “Launching our cloud computing program internationally with CRL is another significant milestone in creating a global, collaborative research community working to advance the new sciences of the Internet.”

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