Internet giant Yahoo! and its industrial research-driven Labs division certainly do not receive the attention that other companies garner on the cloud computing front, but they are currently working within an National Science Foundation (NSF) partnership in conjunction with Intel and HP to further the Open Cirrus effort to experiment with cloud computing models and uses.
As an industry and academia partnership, the effort combines cutting edge research initiatives that are well-suited to the business objectives of Yahoo and others. In return for this development in new ways of conducting business, the industry partners like Yahoo and Intel, for example, have provided a cluster to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
For its part, Yahoo Labs hopes to find, in the words of Dr. Prabhakar Raghavan, “what’s personally meaningful to billons of people online, to investigating what the Web can teach us about ourselves and society.” In addition to this more data-mining and cultural anthropological set of aims, TradingMarkets reports that included in this list is “information retrieval, Web mining, microeconomics, social systems and machine learning.”
Open Cirrus has the stated aim to be a cloud research testbed that will support “research into the design, provisioning, and management of services at a global, multi-datacenter scale” and that will “encourage research into all aspects of service and datacenter management.” While data mining and realizing what we all find personally important on the web does not seem to have much in common with the loftier goals of pursuing data center perfection via research, it will be interesting to watch what public developments emerge from the long-running project.