Today, both Google and IBM announced their intentions to join hands in a collaboration effort intended to bring mirth and merriment to computer science students around the world. The new initiative will be piloted at a few Universities in the U.S., and is aimed at better educating students in how to develop, on a long term scale, large-scale distributed software. With the advent of multi-core processors being in more desktops than ever and even low-cost servers having dozens of CPUs available to them, it makes sense that new generations of programmers will need exceptional parallel programming skills.
To show their devotion to such an endeavor, IBM and Google are sponsoring a massive cluster of computers, including both Google servers and IBM BladeCenter / System x servers. The cluster will be reachable over the Internet, and will rely on Linux along with XEN virtualization. They are also backing it with their own set of open-source software tools and assisting in the management of the projects it spawns.
Some schools participating include the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon. Both IBM and Google have said their own bits about the project, which seems like a very ambitious one indeed.