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The Warsaw Voice » The Polish Science Voice » December 21, 2012
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Polish Universities Team up with IBM
December 21, 2012   
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Polish scientists are set to conduct joint research projects with the IBM corporation’s research lab in Haifa, Israel.

Two Polish universities, the Wroc³aw University of Technology and the AGH University of Science and Technology in Cracow, have been invited to join the OpenStack organization, which brings together open-source software experts and developers. They will work on data processing using a cloud computing model.

According to analytical firm Gartner Research, over the past two years the data processing model based on cloud computing has fundamentally influenced the shape of the IT market. In the next five years, cloud computing is expected to have an increasing impact on IT projects and on the operations of companies and data centers.

The IBM corporation has similar projections for this period. A survey conducted by the company on a sample of more than 3,000 IT managers shows that 60 percent of business organizations intend to implement cloud-based solutions. In order to be better prepared to address these challenges, IBM has announced a plan to intensify its collaboration with leading research institutions, among them AGH and the Wroc³aw University of Technology.

Oded Cohn, director of the IBM Research Haifa laboratory, said the company wants to build a bridge between academia and business and ensure effective collaboration between the producers and users of the technology. He also said that he is convinced that collaboration with the Wroc³aw University of Technology based on such principles will benefit both sides.

Specialists from Haifa and scientists and students from Wroc³aw will form a number of working groups that will focus on research and development concerned with the latest technologies in cloud computing and modeling and optimization technology. Meanwhile, the Wroc³aw University of Technology will gain a potential buyer for Polish innovations.

“IBM’s ties with Wroc³aw are getting stronger: we have an Integrated IT Service Delivery Center in the city, and have also opened a regional sales branch,” said Anna Sienko, general manager of IBM for Poland and the Baltic states. “Wroc³aw has enormous intellectual capital, so our next step is to deepen collaboration with its research community.”

The cooperation agreement between the Wroc³aw University of Technology and the IBM Research Haifa laboratory, signed in the spring of 2012, is another joint project recently undertaken by the two partners. For two years they have been working together as part of the Multipurpose Cloud Computing Center program that aims to assist the university in its courses and boost its cloud computing capabilities. These efforts have been recognized by the European Commission, which has singled out the center as the most innovative educational project in Europe in 2010-2011.

The AGH Department of Computer Science has for years been conducting research in areas including scalable systems, knowledge management, mobile technologies, and network processing (grid computing). The launch of the OpenStack experimental cloud computing platform will make it possible to test the results of the work and assess their practical importance and impact on the development of technology.

On a global scale, the joint research project between AGH and IBM is part of the Open Collaborative Research Program, which focuses on the creation and development of open-source software tools. This is the first research project of its kind launched in Poland since it was started by IBM internationally five years ago.

The collaboration is expected to provide a solid foundation for the new Center for Advanced Studies (CAS) that IBM has launched in Poland. The center aims to strengthen the company’s relationship with universities that are actively developing their University Competence Centers.

Dr. Yaron Wolfsthal from the IBM research lab in Haifa said that, with the constant increase in the number of private and corporate users who have access to, develop or use cloud computing services, there has been a significant increase in the need for using effective and efficient technology operating on the basis of this critical data processing model.

This model will continue to develop, and its increased presence will be driven by the use of open-source specifications, increased ease of use and high quality technical capabilities. IBM’s cooperation with the AGH and other partners in the OpenStack community is designed to carry out these priorities, said Wolfsthal.

IBM Poland aims to actively support education and the development of new technologies. One of the fastest growing IBM projects is its Academic Initiative, which promotes talented students and graduates of technical universities. At the moment, more than 150 universities from around the world, including 31 from Poland, are involved in the exchange of knowledge and experience between IBM and academia as part of the Academic Initiative.

IBM Research Haifa is IBM’s largest research laboratory outside the United States, employing over 500 professionals. For many years, it has been pursuing projects of key importance to the development of IBM’s range of products and services. These projects cover areas such as healthcare and life sciences, discovery, verification technologies, multimedia, active management, information retrieval, programming environments, business transformation, and optimization technologies.
Karolina Olszewska
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