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The OpenStack platform is a key player in the cloud computing present, while the CI's Chameleon project is concerned with cloud computing's future, offering a testbed for researchers to try out experimental architectures and applications. But a recent intersection between the two projects led to an exciting outcome, as a component called Blazar revived by Chameleon developers was recently voted an official component by the OpenStack Technical Committee.

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A new grant from the National Science Foundation extends the Chameleon cloud computing testbed for another three years, allowing the project led by University of Chicago and Computation Institute scientists to enter its next phase of computer science innovation. Upgrades to hardware and services as well as new features will help scientists rigorously test new cloud computing platforms and networking protocols.

For the last two years, the Chameleon testbed has enabled researchers around the world to push the limits of cloud computing in areas such as astronomy, cybersecurity, and education. The project, led by the Computation Institute, has thus far served over 14000 users as an experimental, highly customizable environment where they can test new architectures and applications, at the kinds of scale needed for today's big data projects. To commemorate established achievements and plan for the future of the testbed, Chameleon will host its first user meeting this September at Argonne National Laboratory. 

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In recent years, the race to build the fastest computers has been joined by a parallel competition to design the most energy-efficient machines. The colossal data centers supporting cloud computing and web applications consume massive amounts of energy, using electricity to both run and cool their tens of thousands of servers. As engineers look for new CPU designs that reduce energy usage, scientists from Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory are seeking an AI-based solution, using the cloud computing testbed Chameleon to reduce power through smarter task traffic.

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Analyzing telescope images to search for expolanets in distant solar systems requires high-performance computation that is flexible and fast. Using Chameleon, the experimental cloud computing testbed hosted by the Computation Institute and the Texas Advanced Computing Center, a class of students at the University of Arizona built a new analytics software package that will help astronomers find these planetary needles in the cosmic haystack.

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A multi-institutional team of researchers is using Chameleon -- the cloud computing system for research operated by the Computation Institute and Texas Advanced Computing Center -- to study cyberattacks, detect vulnerabilities, and improve defenses.  

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Cloud computing has changed the way we work, the way we communicate online, even the way we relax at night with a movie. But even as “the cloud” starts to cross over into popular parlance, the full potential of the technology to directly impact science, medicine, transportation, and other industries has yet to be realized. To help investigate and develop this promising cloud computing future, the National Science Foundation today awarded $10 million to a group of institutions led by the Computation Institute for the development of Chameleon, a new experimental testbed for cloud architecture and applications.