Red Hat backs cloud research at Newcastle

A new research centre at Newcastle University will look into grid and cloud computing, virtualisation and middleware

Red Hat is funding a new research centre at Newcastle University that is looking into areas such as grid and cloud computing, virtualisation and middleware.

The centre, which is based at the university's School of Computing Science, will initially employ two researchers to carry out collaborative research, the company announced on Wednesday. Red Hat said it plans to expand the team within the next few years and will also fund PhD scholarships, MSc placements and undergraduate projects.

"Newcastle University, with its tradition of producing top-flight researchers and excellent work in areas of immediate relevance to Red Hat, such as fault tolerance, security and cloud computing, presented a clear choice for partnering to establish the centre," said Mark Little, chief technologist of middleware at Red Hat, in a statement.

The centre will build on Red Hat's existing relationship with the university and the region. The School of Computing Science has carried out research into distributed systems over the past 20 years, producing technologies including the Arjuna transaction monitor, which was acquired by JBoss in 2005. JBoss is now a unit of Red Hat.

In addition, Red Hat has an existing office in Newcastle as a result of its acquisition of the Arjuna technology, and said it has created more than 20 software jobs in the area in the past four years.

Other work carried out at the School of Computing Science includes contributions to the grid and cloud computing projects of the North East Regional e-Science Centre.

Paul Watson, professor at the School of Computing Science and director of the North East Regional e-Science Centre, said the partnership opens up opportunities for the university. "We will be able to tap into funded research tied to real product development and market demands," Watson said in a statement. "Furthermore, we expect there to be a positive impact on the regional digital economy through inward investment, job opportunities and building a critical mass of expertise in Newcastle."

Other Red Hat university partnerships include a collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison on the open source Condor project and funding for an open source computer laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science.