Friday, November 07, 2008

New NSF Grant Takes Maryland "Into the Clouds"

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For Immediate Release
October 3, 2008
Contacts: David Ottalini, 301 405 4076 or

New NSF Grant Takes Maryland "Into the Clouds"

Jimmy Lin is an assistant professor in Maryland's iSchool (College of Information Studies)

Philip Resnik is an associate professor in Maryland's Department of Linguistics and the Institute of Advanced Computer Studies

College Park , MD - "Cloud computing" is a revolutionary change in the way computers are used that involves harnessing the power of large computer clusters to tackle "Web-scale" problems. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has teamed up with Google and IBM to provide researchers from the University of Maryland and other academic institutions with access to massively-scaled, highly-distributed cloud computing resources through the newly-formed Cluster Exploratory (CluE) program." Academic researchers can now take advantage of these resources to engage and explore this emerging model of computing," says NSF program officer Jim French, who will be leading the program for the federal government.

The College of Information Studies, Maryland 's iSchool, has received one of three initial research grants under this NSF program, $200,000 over two years. The effort is led by Assistant Professor Jimmy Lin of the iSchool and Associate Professor Philip Resnik of the Department of Linguistics and the Institute of Advanced Computer Studies. Together, they will tackle the problem of making information available on a global scale across the world's languages, using the richly linked structure of Wikipedia to help improve automatic translation from one language to another.

Prof. Lin says, "Although Wikipedia has emerged as a valuable repository of human knowledge, contributors work for the most part in silos defined by different languages." Prof. Resnik adds, "Improving the quality of translation is a huge challenge, but if we can come up with the right tools, Wikipedia offers significant opportunities: the wide range of languages, the combination of text and structure, and, most of all, a huge community deeply committed to the global availability of knowledge."

The University of Maryland is among the leaders in this new frontier of cloud computing. In October 2007, Google and IBM announced the Academic Cloud Computing Initiative, which aims to bring cloud computing technology into the classroom to educate the next generation of knowledge workers. Led by Prof. Lin, Maryland was one of six universities in the initial pilot program. "We are delighted to have these extraordinary opportunities to be at the forefront of a computing revolution," says iSchool Dean Jennifer Preece. "The work of our faculty cements Maryland 's status as a world-class public research university."

About Maryland's iSchool

The College of Information Studies, Maryland's iSchool, empowers people, organizations and society to use information effectively through its research and undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. Maryland's iSchool enables students and faculty to create new ways for people to connect with information that will transform society and is ideally located in the information capital of the world - the Washington DC metro region. The iSchool is transforming itself as well, from a small college with a strong foundation in library and information studies programs to a fast-growing and groundbreaking center of expertise that will help people manage the information explosion from childhood to adulthood.
For more information on Maryland's iSchool, visit

About the University of Maryland

From its pre-Civil War roots as Maryland's first agricultural college and one of America's original land grant institutions, the University of Maryland today is the flagship campus of the University System of Maryland and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. Ranked No. 18 by U.S. News & World Report, it also has 31 academic programs in the Top 10 and 92 in the Top 25. The current faculty includes three Nobel Laureates, six Pulitzer Prize winners, 40 members of the National Academies of Science, a three-time Emmy Award winner, and scores of Fulbright scholars. Maryland is committed to excellence as the state's premier center of research and graduate education and the institution of choice for undergraduate students of exceptional ability and promise. For more information about the University of Maryland, visit

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