NSF cyberinfrastructure report aims to awaken potential of ‘sleeping middle’

The final report on the Role of Regional Organizations in Advancing the Computational Infrastructure has been submitted to the National Science Foundation with the goal to developing recommendations to assist regional organizations to leverage their work for the benefit of the research community as well as understand what actions, if any, are needed to achieve a radical shift across a diverse set of organizations to improve coordination of, access to and utilization of the national computational infrastructure.

There are many cyberinfrastructure organizations in the space between campuses and nationally-shared cyberinfrastructure facilities that enable use of advanced cyberinfrastructure in research. According to the contributors of this report (which included staff and several members of The Quilt), now is the time to harness the collective energies of these organizations and focus them on innovating CI infrastructure and expertise while also sharing those solutions on an intra- and inter-regional basis.

“The recommendations provided in this report are aimed at awakening the potential of the ‘sleeping middle’ of regional network/CI organizations to develop and enrich the national CI ecology,” as noted in the summary.

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The Role of Regional Organizations in Improving Access to the National Computational Infrastructure conference was held in Kansas City, Missouri, in October 2015. A total of 36 white papers were submitted in advance, and 39 individuals were in attendance. The majority of the participants were from academic institutions, and many also represented a state, regional or national organization with significant interest in improving access to the national computational infrastructure. Contributions by white paper authors and conference attendees are grouped into key thematic areas as presented in the report in addition to two sets of recommendations – core recommendations and recommendations for actions within specific communities.

The purpose of this project was to gain input from relevant organizations and to develop a set of recommendations to reinvigorate the state of advanced cyberinfrastructure and to lay the groundwork for a vibrant, healthy national computational cyberinfrastructure that brings together all the relevant players and is flexible enough to accommodate new developments. By carefully considering the information and choosing to implement the recommendations from this 34-page report, it may be possible to accomplish broad scale change across the cyberinfrastructure landscape in support of future computational and data-intensive science in the United States and beyond.

This work was funded by National Science Foundation Award No. 1543655 to Kansas State University. Gregory E. Monaco, Ph.D. Department of Psychological Sciences, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, and the Great Plains Network. This replaces the Draft Report submitted in March 2016.