Yahoo Donates Servers to Stony Brook University to Advance Computing Research

Aug 24, 2015

I am spending this year on sabbatical at Yahoo Labs after 27 years at Stony Brook. It is interesting to experience the life at a major technology company, and I am sure that much of what I learn here will inform my teaching and research when I return there in Fall 2016. But in the meantime my students will be feasting on our new Yahoo-donated computing cluster to advance our research in machine learning and related areas.

In particular, we have just received four racks of equipment totaling 160 servers, donated under the Yahoo YSTAR program, which grants previously used machines to academic institutions. These machines will be used for research and education in the Data Science Laboratory at the Department of Computer Science at Stony Brook, and will help further our research in natural language processing, machine learning, and bioinformatics/computational biology.


Big data research requires access to large-scale computing. Yahoo's generous YSTAR donation significantly strengthens the computing power we can offer the Stony Brook students working in our Data Science Laboratory. It will enable them to train bigger, more powerful models for core Computer Science research in natural language processing and Deep Learning, and applications areas ranging from the social sciences to bioinformatics.

Yahoo's YSTAR is an innovative and generous program of reuse/recycle. Decommissioned machines from industry get to lead a second life in universities, fulfilling research and educational missions where there is desperate need for equipment. Over the past five years, Yahoo has donated over 5,000 servers to universities under this program, which have made a huge impact to the research and educational initiatives at dozens of universities, including University of Texas at Arlington, Georgia Tech and the University of California, Berkeley.

Our machines arrived just in time as the students returned for the Fall semester, and we immediately got to work getting them up and running.

So, as I explore research topics with scientists at Yahoo Labs and dive into their mountains of textual data, my students and others at Stony Brook will be using the YSTAR server donation for teaching and research. Thank you Yahoo for your generous donation, and for providing me a stimulating sabbatical home.