Virtualization is the creation of devices and machines that have no real, physical existence apart from their existence created or simulated by software. Virtual devices taking advantage of the Cloud’s capacity to rapidly and reactively shift resources in space and time to deliver support “on demand” and “at scale” will reshape the future of computing and communication. New advances will dramatically transform critical sectors such as telecommunication, healthcare, business, education, energy, and transportation. However, significant technical challenges persist which must be addressed, including problems with security, performance, quality-of-service, interoperability, and scalability. As the technology in support of virtualization evolves and matures, research is required to forecast and optimize its utility and its social, economic, and ethical impact. In the new AT&T Center for Virtualization Technologies at SMU, researchers from across the University will conduct interdisciplinary research to address these technical, economic and social issues.
The center is a University-level center, reporting to the Provost and drawing on expertise from across the disciplines at SMU, including the Lyle School of Engineering; the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; the Meadows School of the Arts; the Simmons School of Education and Human Development; the Dedman School of Law; the Cox School of Business; and the SMU center for video game education, Guildhall.
The AT&T Center is temporarily housed in Express Tower in East Campus and will eventually be housed prominently in the new Gerald J. Ford Research Building, a facility that will be centrally located on the main SMU campus.
Cross-Disciplinary Research and Development
The Center will focus on advancing virtualization technologies and their applications, and on assessing their societal and economic impacts. To these ends, SMU will utilize and integrate the relevant interdisciplinary skill sets available at SMU and its collaborators. The Center’s projects will focus on application of technologies including Cyber Security, Machine Learning, and Big Data for solving problems and challenges in enterprise infrastructure virtualization. We envision the center’s research covering a broad spectrum of business verticals as shown in the diagram.
Education and Training
Education and training will be at the core of the Center’s activities. Short courses providing quick but in-depth exposure to emerging technologies will be offered to both SMU students and industry personnel. Online versions of selected courses will be made available through the center portal as well as outlets such as edX and Coursera.
Entrepreneurial Technology Transfer
Studies have shown that innovation in the market place due to university research has been steadily increasing over the last 20 years. In addition to collaborating with industry in research and development, it is imperative for the center to have an entrepreneurial component to its strategic vision in order to become and remain competitive. Building upon SMU’s recent recognition as #14 in Forbes’ list of America’s Most Entrepreneurial Universities for 2015, the Center will ensure intellectual property protection and licensing for faculty and students who are involved in innovative research and development. Also, given the unique circumstances of marketization of digital technologies based upon small initial capital requirements and quick turnaround, the Center will work to establish new tech-transfer models and processes to build a strong and sustainable technology entrepreneurship portfolio.
Broad Outreach to Community
Beyond education and training, the Center will provide a forum for universities, industries, and government organizations to come together and exchange challenges, solutions, and expertise through conferences, workshops, and seminars. These will be open to students, faculty, center partners, and to the community at large. Center will have outreach programs tailored specifically for high schools, community colleges, and HBUCs.