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University of Texas at San Antonio, Open Cloud Institute
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Open Cloud Institute (OCI)
UTSA’s Open Cloud Institute (OCI) was established in 2015 as part of an initiative to both develop degree programs and expand research in cloud computing and big data, while fostering collaboration with industry, positioning UTSA and San Antonio as world leaders in cloud computing technology. The 80/20 Foundation supported the launch of the Institute with $4.8 million to support endowed professorships, faculty research positions, graduate student endowments and research funding. The Institute’s researchers help the business community improve its computing platforms through open-source cloud and big data technologies such as OpenStack and Software Defined Networking. OCI currently has 23 faculty members associated with it and supports 150 students across three colleges: Business, Sciences and Engineering. The OCI is a neutral, third-party research and education laboratory. It encourages research and development of emerging and future technologies and the adoption of standards-based open technologies related to public and private cloud, containerization, cluster management and high-performance computing. OCI, as one of the leading Open Clouds in academia, utilizes OpenStack software (co-founded by Rackspace) and Open Compute hardware (founded by Facebook) to support advanced computing and big-data analytics research. As part of this educational training, OCI recently launched a graduate certificate in Cloud Computing with specific tracks in Cloud Infrastructure, Cloud Application and Analytics and Cloud Security. The OCI has established partnerships with multiple industry leaders in the US to facilitate technology transfer and provide a novel platform for industry projects that will lead to state-of-the-art experiments, findings, and innovations. In addition, it has developed collaborations with industry and other academic institutions to bring the latest technologies and extramural funding in cloud computing to the University. Through the OCI 80/20 Foundation Endowment, the institute awarded internal grant funding in support of faculty research activities in and projects on cloud computing and data analytics. OCI has fostered the development and implementation of degree programs in cloud computing and big data, including the recently launched graduate certificate in Cloud Computing with specific tracks in Cloud Infrastructure, Cloud Application, and Analytics and Cloud Security.

The primary goals of the Institute include: (A) Building infrastructure research in collaboration with industry partners and Open communities, (B) Enabling engineering and scientific research in emerging and future technologies, and (C) Training a pipeline of students to be prepared for the future demands of the workforce.

University Background

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is a leading urban-serving university specializing in health, cybersecurity, energy sustainability, and human and social development. With nearly 31,000 students, it is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. San Antonio, which has strong historical significance as a Spanish mission settlement, is now the 24th largest metropolitan area in the US and 3rd largest in Texas. San Antonio is also recognized worldwide as the home of The Alamo and the Riverwalk and has a thriving economy based on tourism. The city has a large military presence and established healthcare and technology sectors, as well as being recognized as a hub for cybersecurity.

UTSA’s mission is to advance knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) located in the 7th largest city in the United States (U.S.), UTSA has a 10-year vision to become an urban-serving, Hispanic-thriving discovery enterprise considered a destination of choice for students. The University embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources and is also a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property—for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA is one of the top four young universities in the nation in 2018 according to Times Higher Education, has been named the #1 Hispanic Serving Institution in the nation by Bloomberg Businessweek, and has the #1 cybersecurity program in the nation according to a survey by Ponemon Institute. UTSA is ranked one of the “Best of the Best” U.S. universities for minorities, veterans, females, people with disabilities and the LGBTQ population. It is among an elite group of U.S. universities to earn the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification.

As part of President Taylor Eighmy’s vision to make UTSA San Antonio’s university of the future, the university is defining and executing strategies leading to National Research University Fund (NRUF) eligibility through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and an R1 (highest research activity) classification from the Carnegie Commission. UTSA’s research portfolio has become increasingly more transdisciplinary, cutting across areas such as cybersecurity, brain health, engineering, biomedicine, public health, educational transformation, sustainability, business and policy. These areas of research have been further fueled by focused faculty cluster hires in areas such as cloud computing, cybersecurity, brain health and data science. To this end, UTSA recently launched a faculty cluster hire in Artificial Intelligence (AI) (

San Antonio is a recognized cyber-analytics hub. Given the complexity of problems in transdisciplinary fields, and the opportunity for greater government and industry partnerships, UTSA has established The National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC), to support national security and global defense research in cybersecurity and cloud computing, cyber-attack/deterrence, critical infrastructure protection, analytics, high performance computing, AI, machine learning and visualization. The Executive Director of the Open Cloud Institute will facilitate outstanding collaborative research to further connect partners within the NSCC ecosystem (
The vibrant innovation ecosystem of San Antonio includes the co-working space Geekdom (, the #1 managed cloud company, Rackspace (, security product startup incubator, Build Sec Foundry (, Scaleworks, and the growing collaborative resources of Port San Antonio ( San Antonio’s many innovation touch points also allow for unique access and collaborations with its large Department of Defense (DoD) community, which includes the military’s largest medical center and only Level 1 Trauma Center in the country (located at Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston), as well as Cyber Command, the national headquarters for Air Force Cyber operations.

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