Yahoo's M45 cluster runs Hadoop, an open-source distributed file system and parallel execution environment that enables its users to process massive amounts of data. Apache Hadoop is an open-source project of the Apache Software Foundation, to which Yahoo engineers have been the primary contributors to date.
"Hadoop powers many of our most broadly used and complex systems at Yahoo, from Web search to optimizing content for the home page," said Shelton Shugar, senior vice president of cloud computing at Yahoo, in a statement. "Continuing to invest in the open-source community and in technologies like Hadoop is an important element in our efforts to drive breakthroughs in Internet-scale computing and ultimately to continually improve the quality of the consumer experience of Yahoo. By partnering with these top educational institutions to share our M45 cluster and our technical expertise, we hope to further key insights into the next generation of systems software research and development."
Shankar Sastry, dean of the College of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, said: "Access to the cluster is a first step in helping us analyze the vast amounts of societal-scale information available on the Web, such as voting records, online news sources and polling data. The Yahoo cluster will also enable us to conduct computationally intensive econometrics research, combining economic theory with statistics to analyze and test large-scale economic relationships."
"Our partnership with Yahoo will enable us to attack problems ranging from wildlife preservation and biodiversity, to balancing socio-economic needs and the environment, to large-scale deployment and management of renewable energy sources," said Bob Constable, dean of the faculty of Computing and Information Science at Cornell University.
"Our vision is to improve upon current technology through the processing of large data sets," said Jim Kurose, dean of College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. "Yahoo's supercomputing cluster will enable us to do data-intensive research on a large set of scanned books drawn from the Internet Archive's million-book collection. The latter includes 8.5 terabytes of text and half a petabyte of scanned images. Research on such large datasets would not be possible without the use of clusters like the one Yahoo is offering us access to."
Partnership with these universities is the next step in expanding Yahoo's support for cloud-computing research, the company said. In July 2008, Yahoo joined forces with HP, Intel, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) in Singapore, and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany to create Open Cirrus, a global, multi-data center, open-source test bed for advancing cloud computing research and education. The partnership with Illinois also includes the National Science Foundation (NSF), creating a cloud computing cluster that is made available to the entire reach of the NSF academic community, Yahoo officials said. The international partnership promotes open collaboration among industry, academia and governments by removing the financial and logistical barriers to research in data-intensive, Internet-scale computing. As the Yahoo M45 cluster is part of the Open Cirrus cloud computing test bed, the above universities will also gain access to and be part of the Open Cirrus community.