CI CoE Pilot

In 2018, a team of researchers from institutions across the country came together to launch a pilot program aimed at creating a Cyberinfrastructure Center of Excellence model for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Major Facilities. The goal was to identify how the center could serve as a forum for the exchange of cyberinfrastructure knowledge across varying fields and industries, establish best practices for different NSF Major Facilities’ cyberinfrastructure, and address cyberinfrastructure workforce development and sustainability.

Researchers selected three NSF Major Facilities for the CI CoE pilot. Then they identified the similarities and differences each facility faces when it came to cyberinfrastructure. Those initial NSF facilities that were part of the pilot included the National Ecological Observatory Network, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. However as the pilot progressed, the program expanded to engage additional NSF Major Facilities.

For the pilot, the participating facilities were evaluated based on seven different criteria: data capture, data access, visualization, dissemination, disaster recovery, identity management, and engagement with other Major Facilities. Given the facilities had different needs, not all seven of the criteria were needed for every facility in the pilot. Finding these differences helped the CI CoE team develop common challenges and standardized practices for establishing overarching cyberinfrastructure requirements and the data lifecycle, or how data flows, for the facilities.

The pilot program has now begun phase two and become CI CoE: CI Compass: An NSF CI Center of Excellence for Navigating the Major Facilities Data Lifecycle that will apply its three years of initial evaluation and analyses for an improved cyberinfrastructure as needed for the NSF’s Major Facilities.

The results of community engagements conducted during the pilot and identified CI needs of the MFs are described within the document, "Blueprint: Cyberinfrastructure Center of Excellence."

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