UMBC and IBM collaborate on autonomic computing

February 24, 2005

University of Maryland, Baltimore County and IBM Collaborate on Autonomic Computing Research

BALTIMORE, February 24, 2005 - IBM today announced a new Shared University Research (SUR) grant awarded a group of faculty researchers of the eBiquity research group at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County to help build a major new center for high performance computational research.

This SUR grant is part of the latest series of Shared University Research (SUR) awards, bringing IBM's contributions to foster collaborative research to more than $75 million over the last three years. With this latest set of awards, IBM sustains one of its most important commitments to universities aimed at fueling innovation.

The UMBC researchers, led by Professor Milton Halem and including Professors Tim Finin, Anupam Joshi and Yelena Yesha, will use the SUR grant to help establish and equip the UMBC interdisciplinary Computational Laboratory for Autonomic System Studies (iCLASS) with one of the most powerful university installed IBM computing cluster in the Mid Atlantic region. This highly competitive grant builds on similar IBM SUR awards to the UMBC group over the past two years to provide equipment valued at more than $600,000.

iCLASS will initially be used to support research in several areas: large-scale autonomic computing, pervasive and ubiquitous computing, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, the environmental sciences and scientific visualization. In addition, UMBC will conduct performance modeling studies of distributed grid computing using very high bandwidth multi-wave length optical networks.

These projects draw on faculty and students from across the UMBC campus, including Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Information Systems, Mathematics, Biological Science, and Chemistry. The equipment will enable UMBC researchers to dramatically increase the scale of the research problems in all of the above areas and foster new cyberinfrastructure collaborations with both local and national supercomputer centers, government agencies and industrial partner-ships.

In particular, this award also strengthens the research partnership between IBM and UMBC that has existed for over ten years. This relationship has included direct research grants, joint gov-ernment sponsored research projects, student research fellowships, and summer research intern-ships at IBM research centers. Several UMBC students, including many of those who have par-ticipated in these joint research efforts, are now employed at IBM.

The UMBC iClass Center will be directed by Dr. Milton Halem, a research professor in UMBC's Computer Science and Electrical Engineering department and a member of the UMBC ebiquity research group. Dr. Halem also holds an Emeritus position as Chief Information Research Scien-tist. Prior to retiring in 2002, he served in the joint capacity as Assistant Director for Information Sciences and Chief Information Officer for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Dr. Halem was responsible for providing and managing the major supercomputers for the sup-port of all the NASA science programs both within Goddard and externally at over 60 university institutions. He was responsible for instituting the program that led to the development of Beo-wulf systems, massively parallel processing for science and most recently for acquiring a system among the Top 10 most powerful systems in the world. He is most noted for his ground break-ing research in simulation studies of space observing systems and for development of four di-mensional data assimilation for weather and climate prediction.

Autonomic Computing focuses on the self management of complex computing environments. Computing and communication systems are becoming larger, more complex and more intercon-nected. At the same time, they are ever more critical to all aspects of life - national security, business, family life and entertainment. These systems are increasingly difficult for people to use, configure, secure, manage and maintain. Research on Autonomic Computing is developing new techniques that enable these systems to monitor their functions, adapt to changes, optimize their performance, explain their states and understand when they need human help.

About the UMBC ebiquity research group

The UMBC ebiquity research group explores the interactions between mobile computing, perva-sive computing, multi-agent systems and artificial intelligence, and web-based services. Group members have research interests in the underlying areas, such as distributed systems, mobile networking and systems, data management for pervasive/mobile systems, ad-hoc networks, knowledge representation and reasoning, personalization, web/data-mining, multi-agent systems and security.

About University of Maryland, Baltimore County

UMBC is a medium sized university with about 12,000 students ranked in top tier of nation's re-search universities (Doctoral/Research Universities-Extensive) by the Carnegie Foundation. Its mission is to focus on science, technology, engineering and public policy and has strong research programs in biosciences and biotechnology. Information technology has the largest concentration of majors with over 80 faculty, 3000 undergraduate students and 500 graduate students in the major IT programs (Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Systems, Digital Imaging, Bioinformatics).

About IBM's SUR grants

IBM's highly-selective SUR program awards computing equipment (servers, storage systems, personal computing products, etc.) to institutions of higher education around the world to facili-tate research projects in areas of mutual interest including: the architecture of business and proc-esses, privacy and security, supply chain management, information based medicine, deep com-puting, Grid Computing, Autonomic Computing, and storage solutions. The SUR awards also support the advancement of university projects by connecting top researchers in academia with IBM researchers, along with representatives from product development and solution provider communities. IBM supports over 50 SUR awards per year worldwide.

For more information, please contact UMBC ebiquity.