Skip to main content

Red Hat honors UW-Madison partnership, contribution to research computing

May 9, 2011 By Chris Barncard

Red Hat Inc., the world’s largest open-source software company, has given the first Red Hat Cloud Leadership Award to the Center for High Throughput Computing (CHTC) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and named the CHTC its first Red Hat Center of Excellence Development Partner.

Red Hat and UW–Madison have worked together for four years to integrate into the company’s products research and software produced by the university’s Condor Project — technology widely adopted worldwide by the scientific community to distribute complex computing problems across existing networks (“grids” or “clouds” of computers).

“Red Hat and the Center for High Throughput Computing have long held a strategic technology partnership around distributed computing,” says Carl Trieloff, technical director of Red Hat’s Cloud Computing Initiatives. “With its strength in grid and cloud computing, we’re excited not only to expand our partnership with UW–Madison to establish the CHTC as the first Center of Excellence Development Partner, but we’re also thrilled to grant them the first-ever Red Hat Cloud Leadership award for their innovative advancements around the cloud and Condor.”

Sustained access to vast amount of computing power, known as high-throughput computing, is critical to the collection and analysis of data in a wide range of scientific disciplines.

Condor technology has assisted scientists at hundreds of universities and government labs. Trieloff pointed out Condor’s role in groundbreaking work assembling DNA’s millions of proteins for the Human Genome Project, reducing computing cost and energy use at the University of Notre Dame and scavenging unused processing power from idle workstations in University of Nebraska student computer labs to analyze data for its physics department.

At UW–Madison, the CHTC uses Condor to assist more than 50 research groups across campus, including botanists modeling plant genetics, physicists analyzing oceans of data piped back across the Atlantic from the Large Hadron Collider and interdisciplinary researchers collaborating on translational science at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

All along, Red Hat and the Center for High Throughput Computing have shared the idea that the open-source model driving innovation is the best way to bring the benefits of distributed computing to the market, according to Miron Livny, the center’s director and a UW–Madison computer science professor.

“We began developing and deploying grid technology in today’s cloud computing models many years before the cloud became such a compelling industry trend,” Livny says. “We see a natural partnership between what we do with Condor technologies on the university and national laboratory level and with what Red Hat does with these technologies in the commercial software industry.”

Condor technology has played an important role in many products designed by North Carolina-based Red Hat, including CloudForms Cloud Engine, released May 5. According to Todd Tannenbaum, CHTC board member and a lead Condor developer, the new recognition won’t change the pace of development for the Red Hat-UW-Madison team.

“The problems get bigger and more complex and the datasets get larger all the time,” Tannenbaum says. “Advancing high-throughput computing to meet those challenges means there will be no shortage of work in our partnership with Red Hat.”