Public-Private Cloud Partnership: Ontario Government and IBM Join Hands
Government agencies encouraging new technologies through grants and partnerships with private entities are not a recent phenomenon. From DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to NSF (National Science Foundation), a lot of agencies have gone down that path, and American society has benefited as a whole. Even cloud computing has been part of the process (See: Knowledge Sharing on Cloud Computing Between Government and Public Sectors and US Military Asks for Private Sector’s Help to Understand Cloud Computing). Recently, individual lawmakers have started lobbying for government support for private cloud computing initiatives (See: US Senator Seeks Federal Funding for New York Cloud Computing Center).
Now, just across the border, the Canadian province of Ontario has decided to jump onto the cloud computing bandwagon. Along with a consortium of seven universities, the local government has joined hands with IBM to establish a new R&D facility in the city that will have a significant cloud component. The national government is also a participant in this initiative. While IBM will put up the lion’s share of the $210 million investment, the governments of Ontario and Canada will also pool in $15 million and $20 million respectively.
The seven universities are the University of Toronto, Western University, McMaster University, Queens University, the University of Ontario, the University of Ottawa and the University of Waterloo. However, as John Lutz, President, IBM Canada, mentioned, the consortium is open to other colleges and businesses. “A lot of the great innovations come from smaller firms so we want to be sure we allow that,” he said.
The partnership includes the establishment of two high-performance IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputers at the University of Toronto and the development of a cloud computing and agile computing platform at Western University. A local website mentioned that focus research areas would include:
- Problems facing cities, including rapid urbanization and aging infrastructure.
- Healthcare challenges associated with rising healthcare costs due to chronic diseases, including afflictions of the brain, and the lengthy development cycle for new medicines.
- Water conservation and management within cities and across watersheds including wild areas, industrial and agricultural use.
- Efficient energy conservation and management through the application of advanced weather modeling and smart grid technologies.
- Software innovation in high performance computing platforms.
“As we begin a new century of innovation for IBM, we’re investing in this industry-building initiative to further advance Canada’s competitiveness in the global digital economy, both now and in the future. Together with our government, academic and industry partners, we will apply new, collaborative approaches to Canada’s productivity and competitiveness challenges by more fully leveraging IBM’s 100-year legacy of research and development leadership here in Ontario,” Lutz said.
By Sourya Biswas