By Jamie Beckett, September 2006
A virtualized market-based system for allocating computer resources developed by HP Labs has received a Computerworld Horizon Award, given to recognize cutting-edge technologies that are looming on the horizon.
Called Tycoon, the software system aims to dynamically allocate computing resources based need and use, serving as sort of an eBay for processor cycles, memory, disk storage and network bandwidth. Users bid for the resources they need. The system was one of 10 selected for the award from more than 200 nominations.
"People express their preferences for IT resources by their willingness to pay for them and the market sets the price," said Bernardo Huberman, an HP Senior Fellow who lead the Tycoon research. "Tycoon auctions off CPU, storage and bandwidth to those who need them."
Merging economics with technology
The system is already in use. A Scandinavian company began a pilot project with Tycoon this summer, and CERN, the world's largest particle physics laboratory, has started to use it on an experimental basis.
"While the concept of shared resources isn't new," Computerworld said, "HP's convergence of the principles of two disciplines, economics and technology, to develop Tycoon is."
Huberman brought together economists and technologists to work on Tycoon. Principal developers were HP Labs' Kevin Lai and Thomas Sandholm, and contributors included Lars Rasmusson of the Swedish Institute for Computer Science, who then held a post-doctoral position at HP labs and Li Zhang of HP Labs.
Tycoon was one of two HP Labs innovations recognized by the magazine.
Semantic Web toolkit
Jena, an open-source Semantic Web tool kit created an HP Labs team in Bristol, UK, received one of 10 honorable mentions. Jena is used to create applications that share, process and integrate information across disparate systems and geographies on the Web. With more than 100,000 downloads so far, it is widely recognized as the most popular toolkit for Semantic Web developers.
HP Labs has been at the forefront of Semantic Web research since 2000, helping to create standards, contributing key technologies and conducting basic research.
The Semantic Web allows computers to find and integrate information from diverse sources so that it can be used for different purposes. With the use of Jena, more of the Web's content can be created in a machine-comprehensible form, allowing increasingly intelligent gathering, filtering and processing of knowledge.
Jamie Beckett is managing editor of this web site and a former San Francisco Chronicle reporter and editor.