UNT approved to become affiliate site of the Center for Cloud and Autonomic Computing

UNT approved to become affiliate site of the Center for Cloud and Autonomic Computing

UNT approved to become affiliate site of the Center for Cloud and Autonomic Computing
October 27
11:32 2018

Update: Following meetings on Oct. 22 and 23, UNT was unanimously approved as an affiliate site of the National Science Foundation’s Center for Cloud and Autonomic Computing by board members.

University information technology marking coordinator Monica Scott-Taliaferro said in an email that UNT is proposing to join as an additional site—more than an affiliate—in the CAC Center by submitting a contract proposal to the NSF at the next meeting of the board which will take places oon April 4 and 5, 2019, at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. 

On Monday, Oct. 22 and Tuesday, Oct. 23, UNT hosted the National Science Foundation’s Center for Cloud and Autonomic Computing semi-annual industry advisory board meeting in the Gateway Center.

The Cloud and Autonomic Computing Center (CAC) is a program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) program. The mission of the program is to build long-term partnerships between higher-education institutes, industries and the government.

UNT’s focus for the meetings was to propose joining the center as an affiliate site. Affiliate sites conduct specialized research and produce prototypes.

“The whole process is an industry [that] will invest in a center that is managed by the university, but governed by the company, because the company controls the rules and regulations of financial expenditures of the center,” said Ravi Vadapalli, UNT Research IT Services director and director of the affiliate site. “We recruit the companies, and we match them with the researchers and the researchers are going to deliver the value.”

As industries are looking for economic opportunities and universities are training the future workforce, the relationship between the site and the industry is a unique synergy, Vadapalli said.

“When businesses come, they invest in one university for a specific research area,” Vadapalli said. “They won’t find that kind of research elsewhere, so they are not having to have this conflict of competition problem. The technologies developed for the research is unique.”

Some former and current industry members in the program include Microsoft, IBM, Covenant Health, Mitsubishi and Dell. Vadapalli said there are four main benefits to being an affiliate site: new business involvement, technology transfer, workforce training and commercialization opportunities.

The current affiliate sites that attended the conference included the University of Arizona, the University of Detroit Mercy, the University of Sonora in Mexico and Texas Tech University. Each school presented site updates and discussed its programs. Texas Tech has seen success in its program that focuses on cloud standards and application programming interface (API) design and testing.

“There has been a strong increase in interdisciplinary cooperation among faculty and students from different departments and colleges in carrying out this research,” said Alan Sill, co-director of the CAC at Texas Tech. “The program has brought in well over a million dollars in research funding from industry members and the [National Science Foundation]. Research topics drawn from addressing industry needs has greatly accelerated progress on practical problems while still allowing the intellectual creativity and curiosity of our participating faculty and students to flower.”

Sill said although each site has its own specialized focus or concentration, cross-site cooperation is common and encouraged. In each site’s program, students are at the head of research and production.

“Students are involved at the front lines in carrying out and proposing research topics with supervision of their participating advisers,” Sill said. “Ideas are presented to industry members twice a year in meetings like the one being held here at UNT, and the best ideas receive funding from the industry advisory board. This is a much more direct method of obtaining research funding with faster feedback than is typically possible with government-funded programs.”

Computer science doctoral candidate Qi Chen attended the conference after his advisor recommended it. During the meeting, Chen presented research work on building a cooperative perception framework for connected autonomous vehicles during the Poster section.

“I’m glad I can present my research in the Poster section of  the meeting,” Chen said. “I think it’s an opportunity to show my work and collect comments from the participates.”

The grant proposal will be decided upon in April 2019. More information can be found at https://cac.unt.edu/home.

Featured Image: Alan Sill, co-director of the CAC at Texas Tech University discusses the board’s agenda for the next meeting, to be set in Arizona. Trevor Seibert

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Kiara St. Clair

Kiara St. Clair

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