The Industry-Academia Partnership Gathers at Cornell University to Address the Future Technology Demands of the Data Center and Cloud

Multiple Academia and Industry Leaders Convene at Workshop on October 18

Los Gatos, California – November 1, 2013 - The Industry-Academia Partnership (IAP) held a workshop at Cornell University in the Statler Amphitheater on October 18th, with the theme "Meeting the Future Needs of the Data Center." The IAP is an association formed to address the revolutionary changes required for the underlying hardware and software as multi-core compute, storage and networking converge for the future data center and cloud.

Several academics presented their research work impacting the future data center and cloud including Prof. José Martínez, Prof. Hakim Weatherspoon, Dr. Robert van Renesse, and Dr. Robert Soule of Cornell University, and Ph.D. student Svilen Kanev of Harvard University, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Several high tech companies involved in data center operations, infrastructure and hardware components and software were represented at the workshop. Presentations were made by IAP members including Kiko Reis of Canonical (Ubuntu), Dr. John Busch of SanDisk, Tom Fry of Samsung, and Dr. Shubu Mukherjee of Cavium.

A highlight of the event was a panel discussion on the prospects and means for improving the power efficiency of cloud computing by 2 to 3 orders of magnitude by 2020, enabling an exa-op data center that consumes no more than 10 mega-watts.  The panel was moderated by Prof. Martínez, and comprised four panelists: Prof. Christopher Batten and Prof. Ken Birman of Cornell, Dr. Busch of SanDisk, and Dr. Mukherjee of Cavium.

A student poster session had 10 poster submissions by Cornell students on cloud-related work, representing the contributions of more than 30 students. The Best Poster Award for a Graduate Student went to Qi Huang of Cornell for his work “An Analysis of Facebook Photo Caching.” The Best Poster Award for an Undergraduate Student went to Jordan Davis of Cornell for “Time Characterization and Protocol of Optical Control Signals.”  The Poster Session was sponsored by SanDisk and Cavium, and the awards were presented by Prof. Martínez, Dr. Busch, and Dr. Jim Ballingall, Executive Director of the IAP Prof. Martínez is an IAP Board Advisor, and was the Cornell campus host and Workshop co-organizer. He is associate professor of electrical and computer engineering (ECE) and graduate field member of computer science (CS).  Prof. Martínez commented: "This was a very productive workshop on many levels: First of all, participation was quite high, in both attendance and caliber, and it was very active, which the IAP Workshop format supports quite naturally. Second, the Workshop included my colleagues from both ECE and CS here at Cornell, so we had broad academic participation, which brought some fresh perspectives to the problems and solutions impacting the future of cloud computing. Industry representation was fantastic.”

Professor Ken Birman, the N. Rama Rao Professor of Computer Science at Cornell commented, “I actually thought it was a fantastic workshop, an unquestionable success, starting from the dinner the night before, through the workshop itself, to the post-event reception for the student Best Poster Awards. It was truly a delight to participate along with so many Cornell colleagues and students.  I view interactions with our industry colleagues like this as key to informing our research activities, and greatly look forward to the next IAP Workshop.”

Kiko Reis, Vice President of Hyperscale at Canonical (Ubuntu) gave the keynote presentation and afterwards commented, “The Cornell IAP Workshop was unlike other technical meetings and conferences I have attended. The IAP Workshop format provides a structured yet informal setting for give-and-take discussion that illuminates issues likes no other; as an example, my keynote was peppered by questions and comments from the audience, indicative of the level of passion and expertise in this field at Cornell. It was absolutely wonderful to interact with so many professors and talented students from diverse disciplines, and to meet many new colleagues in industry.”

Farhad Tabrizi, Senor Vice President, Samsung commented, “First of all, the quantity and quality of the information flowing at the Cornell IAP Workshop was tremendous. In a 24-hour period at Cornell, starting with the pre-event Workshop Dinner with the professors on the 17th, to the post-event Workshop Reception with students on the evening of the 18th, I viewed nine 30-minute presentations by cloud experts in industry and academia, 10 posters presented by outstanding students, and a 45-minute panel session on the future of the cloud with 5 world-leading experts from industry and academia.  The workshop activities and format provided ample opportunity to dialog with the other attendees and initiate new relationships; moreover, the facilities and service throughout were on par with the best of executive corporate events.  Bottom line, I left Cornell with some new relationships and ideas that will positively impact our work supporting cloud computing solutions at Samsung.”

Dr. John Busch, Vice President and SanDisk Fellow, stated, “The IAP provides a unique opportunity for a flash storage solutions provider, such as SanDisk, to interact with leaders in academia and industry across the entire solution stack – from components to software and data center infrastructure. The interactions with students and professors were informative, and the caliber of the attendees at the Cornell IAP Workshop was extremely impressive. This was a terrific opportunity to dialog and network with other leaders in the field who, like SanDisk, have a stake in developing technologies to support the evolving data center and cloud.”

Dr. Shubu Mukherjee, Distinguished Engineer at Cavium stated, "The IAP Workshop at Cornell was extremely worthwhile for me and my Cavium colleagues; offering a forum to network with leading academic and industry stakeholders regarding the future needs of the data center. Our HR and university recruiting teams also made many new contacts at the workshop. We view university collaboration to be a key component for R&D and new product development and look forward to future IAP Workshops.”

Dr. Jim Ballingall, Executive Director of the IAP summed up, “According to university program rankings such as U.S. News and World Report, 3 of the top 5 computer science and engineering programs in the world were represented at the Cornell IAP Workshop. We are also pleased with the high level of industry participation, and the breadth and depth of expertise represented.”

Video transcripts and slides of the presentations will be made available to IAP members. For further information, see

About the Industry-Academia Partnership: The IAP is an association of university professors, students and industry with the goal being to catalyze new product innovations by bringing together industry and university partners in pursuit of some common data center goals in education, research and product development. The IAP Board of Advisors includes Professor David Brooks of Harvard University, Professor Christos Kozyrakis of Stanford University, Professor José Martínez of Cornell University, Professor Onur Mutlu of Carnegie Mellon University, and Professor Daniel Sanchez of MIT. Dr. Jim Ballingall of Ballingall Consulting is the Executive Director. The IAP conducts workshops periodically on university campuses.  IAP membership and attendance at IAP Workshops is free for university professors, staff and students.  Industry attendees must be IAP members or invited by the IAP.  For further information, visit the IAP website at and contact the IAP at