As part of our continued effort to support cutting-edge scientific research in academia, Yahoo recently gifted 400 servers to three leading university computer science and engineering departments. Under the YSTAR program (Yahoo Servers to Academic Researchers), 160 servers were donated to UCSD, 160 to UMass Amherst (with a commitment of 160 more), and 80 to USC. This additional computing power for these institutions will significantly contribute to their scientific activities by furthering large-scale, hands-on educational experiences that will open up new possibilities for data-intensive research.
The 560 combined servers will be used to develop and apply methods to collect, curate, and analyze large-scale data. They will also be used to make discoveries in computer science disciplines including machine learning; data gathering and interpretation; data quality and cleaning; data protection and privacy; big and fast data analytics; and theory for data science.
Explaining how the servers will benefit her university and students, Associate Professor Tara Javidi in the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering says, “Computation is at the core of big data analytics for both genomic data and networking research. Increasingly various aspects of computational biology, from understanding evolution to monitoring human microbiome, require substantial computational resources to analyze big data being generated routinely.” She continues, “In networking with the very large scale of operations, there is an increasing need for rich and complicated simulations that allow for experimentation and analysis. These analyses require development of new methods and algorithms that enable accurate analyses of big data in reasonable time. Perhaps more importantly, we need to excite, educate, and prepare a new generation of students to lead this revolution in biological data sciences as well as the new software-based networking paradigm. The servers donated by Yahoo will help us in our research in these domains. We will be able to test our new algorithmic ideas on more datasets and in a shorter timeframe. Better methods will lead to faster and more accurate biological discoveries as well as more efficient network protocols.”
Supporting the academic community is a top priority at Yahoo Labs. The vision of the Labs’ Academic Partnerships group is to help Yahoo be one of the first companies that academics think of for new research or business collaborations, and employment opportunities.
The YSTAR program is a partnership between the Academic Partnerships group at Yahoo Labs and Yahoo’s Technology Operations team. Rather than dispose of older Yahoo servers, YSTAR was established to refurbish and donate them to university researchers. This initiative began just four years ago and thus far, YSTAR has donated more than 6,000 servers to more than 50 academic institutions worldwide, valued at more than $2 million.