July 25, 2011
What is XSEDE?
XSEDE is a massive national collaboration that provides cyberinfrastructure services and resources to support scientific discovery in fields such as medicine, engineering, earthquake science, epidemiology, genomics, astronomy, and biology. XSEDE services and resources will include supercomputers, data collections, and software tools. Resources are developed and maintained locally by partner institutions and accessed easily and transparently using high speed networks, allowing them to be shared by scientists working all across the U.S. XSEDE is a 5-year, $121 million project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and led by the National Center for Supercomputer Applications at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.
What is the relationship between XSEDE and TeraGrid?
Going forward, XSEDE is the largest single NSF-funded cyberinfrastructure facility in operation supporting open research in the US. It succeeds TeraGrid, which was supported by the NSF from 2001-2011. XSEDE builds upon the success of TeraGrid, but aims to provide support for advanced research in a wider variety of fields and with a larger variety of cyberinfrastructure services.
What is IU doing as part of XSEDE?
IU is one of 16 XSEDE partner institutions in XSEDE – 16 institutions out of hundreds in the US that aim to be leaders in advanced information technology and informatics. Indiana University will contribute to the project by providing leadership and support in the following specific areas:
- Development of Science Gateways, online tools and portals that allow scientists to more easily access advanced computing resources without requiring an in-depth knowledge of computational science. These resources allow scientists to focus on their specific area of research, rather than the computers that enable that research. IU works in partnership with scientists from areas such as chemistry and the life sciences to develop science gateways customized for their particular disciplines.
- Online support – the UITS Support Division will deliver a customized version of their Knowledge Base to provide 7 x 24 support to users via the web, whenever users need assistance
- Virtual Machine (VM) Provisioning, a unique contribution from IU that provides scientists and XSEDE partners with the ability to provide persistent services to XSEDE, in a manner somewhat like commercial cloud providers. Many of the basic XSEDE services and science gateways will run inside a VM hosted at IU
- Network monitoring and backup operations. The IU GlobalNOC and UITS Networking Division will provide network monitoring services and serve as a backup operations management site for XSEDE
- IU will lead XSEDE efforts in the area of “Campus Bridging,” – working to make XSEDE services easy for scientists to use, as if they were all local resources. Craig Stewart, Executive Director of the Pervasive Technology institute and Associate Dean for Research Technologies, will lead overall XSEDE efforts in this area.
- Campus Bridging, the seamless integration of technology used by scientists at their home campus, on other campuses, and from regional, national and international computing centers. Campus Bridging strives to make these resources accessible and easy for scientists to use, as if they were all local resources.
How does IU involvement in projects such as XSEDE and TeraGrid help Indiana?
By being involved in projects such as XSEDE, and the TeraGrid IU is able to have the earliest possible access to new technology in support of IU researchers in medicine, biology, chemistry, geology, engineering, and many other disciplines. This helps IU scientists be at the forefront of new discoveries in all areas of scholarly accomplishment. In addition, projects such as XSEDE and the TeraGrid are part service, part information technology and informatics innovation. By being involved in XSEDE (and in the past, TeraGrid), IU information technologists and informatics experts are able to aid national directions in computer science, informatics, and cyberinfrastrucrture.
In addition, involvement in XSEDE and TeraGrid helps create new, high-quality jobs in the State of Indiana. Between TeraGrid and XSEDE, and the related FutureGrid project, more than $10M in federal funding has been brought into the State of Indiana. These monies come as a result of IU’s scientific and technical excellence and are helping to build an IT-based economy and 21st century workforce in the State of Indiana.
How long as IU been involved in the TeraGrid and XSEDE?
IU has been involved in the TeraGrid since its inception in 2001 – with IU President Michael A. McRobbie and then IU computer science professor Dennis Gannon as Senior Investigators on the original TeraGrid project. In 2003 McRobbie was the Principal Investigator on the “IP-Grid” project, which first involved IU as a provider of resources to a national audience. In 2005, PTI Executive Director Stewart became PI on IU’s grant awards to deliver resources via the TeraGrid, with the Bid Red supercomputer as one of the key resources used by US researchers. In 2009 the National Science Foundation awarded IU a grant to run FutureGrid, a national testbed for next generation grid and cloud technologies – under the leadership of Geoffrey C. Fox, Distinguished Professor in the IU School of Informatics and Computing and Director of the Digital Science Center which is affiliated with PTI. Beth Plale, Professor in the School of Informatics and Computing, PTI Managing Director, and Director of the Data to Insight Center which is also affiliated with PTI was instrumental during the 2005-2011 TeraGrid project in proving the viability of science gateway technology". IU was involved in the preparation of the final proposal to the NSF particularly involved in areas related to campus bridging.
What is campus bridging?
Indiana University is a recognized leader in the area of ‘campus bridging.’ Campus bridging is the seamlessly integrated use of cyberinfrastructure operated by a scientist or engineer with other cyberinfrastructure on the scientist’s campus, at other campuses, and at the regional, national, and international levels as if they were proximate to the scientist, and when working within the context of a Virtual Organization (VO) make the ‘virtual’ aspect of the organization irrelevant (or helpful) to the work of the VO. Campus bridging as a concept grew out of an NSF-sponsored workshop on cyberinfrastructure led by IU VP for Information Technology Brad Wheeler, and an NSF Task force led by Craig Stewart. More information about campus bridging is available online at http://pti.iu.edu/campusbridging. This is an extension of IU’s long term leadership in cyberinfrastructure – which IU deflines as Cyberinfrastructure consists of computational systems, data and information management, advanced instruments, visualization environments, and people, all linked together by software and advanced networks to improve scholarly productivity and enable knowledge breakthroughs and discoveries not otherwise possible.
Who are the other partners in XSEDE?
The XSEDE partnership includes: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Carnegie Mellon University/University of Pittsburgh, University of Texas at Austin, University of Tennessee Knoxville, University of Virginia, Shodor Education Foundation, Southeastern Universities Research Association, University of Chicago, University of California San Diego, Indiana University, Purdue University, Cornell University, Ohio State University, University of California Berkeley, Rice University, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. It is led by the University of Illinois’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications.