New Cyberinfrastructure Partnership Launches Publication

FEBRUARY 17, 2005--The Cyberinfrastructure Partnership (CIP), a joint, NSF-funded effort of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), this week launched Cyberinfrastructure Technology Watch (CTWatch, http://www.ctwatch.org/).

CTWatch is an online source of news, analysis, and commentary that aims to keep the national science and engineering research communities informed on, and involved in, the latest developments in shared cyberinfrastructure. Developed at the Innovative Computing Laboratory (ICL) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, under the leadership of ICL Director Jack Dongarra, CTWatch will offer its first quarterly issue on February 18. A companion blog, designed as a community forum for breaking news, provocative ideas, and interactive discussion, is slated for March.

Each issue of CTWatch will center on a topic with currency and importance for the broad collection of communities and groups who are interested in cyberinfrastructure. The inaugural issue focuses on "Trends in High Performance Computing." In the first issue, Susan Graham, computer science professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, and Mark Snir, head of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's computer science department, summarize and highlight the key elements of the recent report of the National Research Council on the future of supercomputing. In addition, the leaders of the Top500 team offer incisive analysis of the results of their latest survey. Dan Reed, director of the University of North Carolina's Renaissance Computing Institute, provides a community update on the influential work of the Presidential Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC); and Microsoft's Jim Gray and his colleagues argue for a new paradigm for data-intensive computational science.

CTWatch is part of a coordinated endeavor by SDSC and NCSA to help define, create, and deploy a national cyberinfrastructure for science and engineering research. The need for an infrastructure to support next-generation research has never been greater. As the NSF Blue Ribbon Panel on Cyberinfrastructure concluded in 2003, emerging multi-disciplinary research environments and advanced science and engineering applications require a massive assemblage of hardware, software, and people. Moreover, organizations will need to work together to coordinate the shared use of computers, storage, networking, instruments, and visualization technologies serving a wide variety of communities.

The SDSC-NCSA response to this critical need is the Cyberinfrastructure Partnership (CIP), a collaboration between the two centers that will provide a model for close cooperation in building a national cyberinfrastructure. "The size of the computational problems to be solved and the amounts of data being generated and consumed are all growing explosively," said Thom Dunning, director of NCSA. "Collaborative research at such scales will push both the component technologies and the design integration problems of cyberinfrastructure to their limits."

"We intend for CTWatch to provide stimulating and thoughtful ideas from the frontier of cyberinfrastructure," said Fran Berman, director of SDSC. "As Cyberinfrastructure evolves, CTWatch can provide a venue for describing and discussing emerging cyberinfrastructure technologies, trends and opportunities, and serve as forum for the larger community involved in building and using cyberinfastructure."

Jack Dongarra, executive editor of CTWatch, noted that the creation of the publication presents a unique opportunity. "Cyberinfrastructure is especially exciting because innovative computing research, cutting-edge technology, and groundbreaking science all converge there. CTWatch represents a new grass-roots approach to engaging the research community by showcasing specific areas of computing research and their potential impact on the scientific community at large."

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