New England News
6:13 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Gov. Patrick Launches Open Cloud Computing Project In Holyoke

A new public cloud computing infrastructure is going to be developed in Massachusetts, as the state looks to position itself as a leader in the new sector known as “big data.” 

Cabinets for computer servers in the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke.
Cabinets for computer servers in the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke.
Credit WAMC

Massachusetts will put $3 million toward developing the open cloud project. The announcement was made by Governor Deval Patrick Friday at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke.

" Massachusetts Open Cloud will be a virtual laboratory to big data researchers and innovators in industry, academia , and government all across the Commonwealth."

The Massachusetts Open Cloud project is being developed by several universities and computing industry companies that have committed a total of $16 million to the project.  The state funding comes from a jobs bill passed by the legislature in 2012. 

Patrick said the open cloud project will be a catalyst for economic development and will spur more jobs in the growing sector of big data—an umbrella description for the collection, storage and analysis of large amounts of data by government and companies representing many industries including retail, financial services and healthcare.

A  report released Friday by the  Massachusetts Technology Collaborative said there are 500 Massachusetts firms working in big data now and there will be as many as 3,000 new big data-related jobs in the state over the next 12 months.

" The question is how do we get maximum leverage through collaboration. That is the potential behind the big data initiative," said Patrick.

Massachusetts Secretary of Economic Development Greg Bialecki said the public cloud computer will be accessible by researchers and entrepreneurs looking for a way to test new ideas.

" If you want to write a new IPhone ap you can do it on your laptop, but when it comes to big data you can't do that on your laptop, you need a place like this ( the high performance computing center) as the place to try your innovations and figure out how to grow your experiment"

Boston University is taking the lead in developing the new model in cloud computing, according to BU computer science professor Azer Bestavros.

"Cloud computing is offered today in a wholesale approach. The MOC is more like a shopping mall with little boutiques, so it is a different model for offering cloud computing."

Officials expect it will be three years before the Massachusetts Open Cloud is up and running. The hardware for the project will be housed in the high performance computing center in Holyoke.

The $90 million center, which opened two years ago, is a collaboration of several of the state’s top public and private universities, including Harvard and UMass and computer hardware companies  EMC and Cisco.

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