IBM on Monday announced that it has partnered with three universities to develop one of the first cloud-computing platforms in the Middle East.

Big Blue, along with Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar University, and Texas A&M University in Qatar, plans to use the Qatar Cloud Computing Center to handle advanced research for search, data mining, scientific modeling and simulation, computational biology, and financial modeling.

“This will help us realize our vision of developing, evaluating, and extending a cloud-computing infrastructure in Qatar, to target regional applications and projects to help advance research,” Majd F. Sakr, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, said in a statement.

Five pilot application projects will include oil and gas seismic modeling and exploration; Arabic language Web search engines; and a cloud-computing curriculum to teach at the universities.

IBM and universities will collaborate on building the infrastructure for the cloud-computing platform, followed by developing applications to build on the Hadoop open-source programming model.

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