Draft press release

The Centre of Excellence for Research in Agile Systems (CERAS) brings together researchers from IBM, universities and research centres from the U.S. and Canada to investigate technologies, techniques and methods for web service centric software. Commonly known as Web2.0, this next generation of technologies will enable new types of Web applications, introduce new ways of interaction and collaboration over the Internet, and create new business models. CERAS aims at investigating two technological aspects: Virtual Infrastructure (VI) and Model Driven Engineering (MDE) with the goal of providing easier development, deployment, reconfiguration, maintenance and adaptation of a web service-based IT infrastructure.

VI will investigate virtualization, a technique that provides a unifying view of the hardware and software resources of an enterprise. Resources scattered across many geographies and time zones are given the appearance of a centralized data center. MDE will investigate model-based methods and technologies for developing and maintaining web service oriented and similar applications. By abstracting away technological detail, models provide the basis for virtualization and platform-independent software.

As an illustration of how such a system would be utilized, imagine a large hospital that has many units:

  • In order to operate, the hospital needs computers and software to support clinical, administrative and research operation.
  • At any given time, there are different computing resources needed by each of the applications, such as during clinical peaks, and workload changes over time.
  • While some parts of the system may not be fully needed and utilized at any given time, others may not have enough computing capacity.
  • Human intervention helps to manage each of these systems and set up the machines for the different uses, making sure there is enough processing power and storage to run each of the applications. However, it is not always optimal or economical to manage such complex resources manually.
  • Ideally, the systems should autonomously operate, monitor performance and adjust configuration, and re-allocate resource as applications require.
  • Autonomic and on-demand computing will achieve the following goals:
  • Scalable performance for expanding the environment for supporting peak performance or system failure on demand, and improved system flexibility.
  • Balanced system use across multiple applications and users
  • Minimized human intervention.
  • Self-monitored systems with preventive maintenance.
  • Reduced cost.

The unifying research themes will be: storage, data, server and workload virtualization, autonomic computing and programming models for virtual enterprises.

Participants: CERAS includes researchers from the following institutions: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, Carleton University, Queen's University, University of Western Ontario, North Carolina State University (U.S.A.), Ontario Cancer Institute, IBM Toronto Lab, IBM Ottawa Lab, IBM Raleigh (U.S.A.). Research funds come from the above institutions as well as from the governments of the Canada and the U.S.A.

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Topic revision: r2 - 2007-04-16 - CherylMorris
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