NC State-IBM Virtual Computing Project Bearing Fruit


North Carolina State University said a partnership it formed seven months ago with IBM Corp. to offer unused computer cycles via the Internet to higher ed and K-12 institutions for learning and research projects is starting to bear fruit.

The Virtual Computing Lab, on open-architecture project that delivers computing resources on demand through the Internet, has given needed computing resources to about 30,000 students and faculty, according to the partners, which include NC State's Information Technology Division, the College of Engineering, the Friday Institute, and IBM.

Clients of the project include University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), North Carolina Central University (NCCU), Duke University, UNC-Greensboro (UNC-G), East Carolina University (ECU), Western Carolina University, and Appalachian State University (ASU).

VCL has also partnered with North Carolina school districts in Granville, Franklin, Halifax, and Northampton counties to help shape a K-12 VCL to provide Internet access for rural and underserved schools.

The VCL is also supporting several open-source community projects at North Carolina universities. The research projects will address a technical issues related to the VCL infrastructure, including performance, availability, security, governance, and provisioning.

The platform independence of the VCL enables a broad mix of applications, according to VCL officials. In addition, the 24/7 availability of the VCL allows students to access computing resources throughout the night, often when learning labs are closed. Distance education students also value, and benefit from, the anywhere, anytime availability of the VCL.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.