BU and Red Hat Announce $5M, 5-year Research Partnership

Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source enterprise software, and BU’s Cloud Computing Initiative (CCI), part of the Hariri Institute for Computing, are pleased to announce a new partnership aimed at advancing research into emerging and translational technologies, such as cloud computing and big data platforms.

Red Hat is investing $5 million in a five-year partnership that will create the Red Hat Collaboratory at Boston University (Red Hat Collaboratory @BU). The new partnership is an outgrowth of the very successful engagement of Red Hat with the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC) project, which is also hosted within the CCI. CCI Director and MOC project lead, Orran Krieger, expects the Collaboratory “to amplify the impact and scope of the MOC and allow for broad engagement with the cloud computing research community.”

The collaboration will bring together researchers and scientists from Red Hat and BU, and will provide a range of opportunities for students, staff, and faculty, including project incubation, fellowship opportunities, and support for visiting scientists. Two new research labs will be created through the partnership, one at Red Hat’s new corporate space in Boston’s Seaport district and one on BU’s Charles River Campus.  In addition to advancing technical and scientific goals, this collaboration will provide training opportunities for students through internships; engage BU in the development of STEM initiatives in and around Boston; and serve as a vehicle for the dissemination and adoption of innovative research results through colloquia, workshops, and public forums with the broader cloud computing R&D community.

As Hariri Institute for Computing Founding Director, Azer Bestavros, notes, the match-up makes perfect sense: “Red Hat is very interested in novel platforms that combine different technologies into a single offering. This is a way for them to get a foot in the door of a great University with very fitting research.” Jan Mark Holzer, senior consulting engineer at Red Hat, adds that “the combination of Red Hat, the leader in delivering enterprise consumable open source solutions, and Boston University, with its world-renowned research capabilities, will enable research in academia to become even more applicable to the broader industry.”

Red Hat is a core industry partner of the MOC project, which is a unique academic, industry, and government partnership, working to develop an open, production-quality cloud computing system that enables research and provides leading-edge services for scientific computing. Piyanai Saowarattitada, Director of Engineering & Infrastructure at the MOC, emphasizes that “the company’s engineers have worked closely with the MOC team, collaborating researchers, and other industry partners on the open cloud, and the Red Hat Collaboratory @BU will provide an exciting vehicle to expand this successful collaboration.”

Gloria Waters, BU’s Vice President and Associate Provost for Research, calls the new collaboration “a testament to the importance of the University’s willingness to take on multi-university initiatives, such as the MOC, and invest in multi-stakeholder resources, such as the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC).” The MGHPCC launched in 2012 and operates as a joint venture between Boston University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts, in partnership with EMC2, Cisco, and the State of Massachusetts. Open for use by any research organization, it provides world-class computational infrastructure and is a critical partner for the MOC and numerous other BU research projects.

The Red Hat Collaboratory is an innovative model for how BU can leverage the strength of its disciplinary breadth to develop relationships with industry and allow BU researchers to tackle complex challenges and transition research results into real-world solutions.

[Read the full BU Today announcement]