The Center for Systems Innovation at Scale (i-Scale) was awarded a planning grant through the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) program.

The Center, currently comprised of a site at Boston University and a site at Northeastern University, will bring faculty and academic researchers together with collaborators from industry partners to address relevant problems, with significant partner input on research priorities.

NSF Award Abstract

Cloud computing has become pervasive in recent years, with a large fraction of enterprise computing moving to the cloud, and entire categories of new enterprises exclusively using the cloud rather than on-premises servers. Yet to date innovation in cloud computing has been difficult for members of organizations – whether academic or industrial – which are not one of a small number of large cloud providers. Many advances have depended on not only access to large-scale computing environments, but also to users and their applications, to (a) inform research with data on what problems to target, and (b) evaluate how proposed technologies might address real problems or enable new uses. The Center for Systems Innovation at Scale (i-Scale) seeks to increase the pace of innovation in this field by making the prerequisites for such research available to faculty and industrial collaborators. 

i-Scale seeks to harness the computing demand within participating academic institutions to both inform research and provide a path for evaluation and translation into practice. At the same time, the Center will take advantage of open-source licensing to allow close collaboration between university researchers and industrial partners, allowing engineering and system-building on a level difficult to achieve solely within a university environment. Particular areas of focus include data storage for the cloud, including emerging storage technologies and storage for Big Data and machine learning, the use of new accelerator technologies, system platforms for cloud computing, shared data center economics, and power and scheduling.