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Internet2 and National Science Foundation Partnership Explores Commercial Cloud Computing in Support of Scientific Research

National Science Foundation Is Funding Internet2 to Facilitate New and Innovative Cloud Computing Capabilities for Supporting Science Applications

Internet2 announced a new partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to coordinate the use of commercial cloud platforms for scientific computing research needs, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloudsigned on as the initial providers supporting the project.

A partnership between @Internet2 and @NSF_CISE examines how researchers can leverage #bigdata and #cloudcomputing resources for the computational research that once required #HPC supercomputers. https://bit.ly/2PyJO6M #NSFfunded CC: @googlecloud @awscloud

The Exploring Clouds for Acceleration of Science (E-CAS) project will investigate the viability of commercial clouds as an option for leading-edge research computing and computational science supporting a range of academic disciplines. Internet2 will serve as the coordinator, facilitator and administrator of the two-phased project, with a submission deadline for first phase proposals due by 5 p.m. submitter’s local time on February 1, 2019 via the E-CAS project website.

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“We are very excited to partner with NSF and work in collaboration with leading cloud providers to support a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines and help provide digital research platforms to a wider range of scientific endeavors,” said Howard Pfeffer, president and CEO of Internet2, and principal investigator on the E-CAS project. “For over 20 years, Internet2 has served to connect researchers who work together to solve common technology challenges, and to develop innovative solutions in support of their educational, research, and community service missions. This partnership is an extension of our commitment to supporting researchers and diversifying technology solutions for the benefit of the research and education community.”

“Over the past four decades the National Science Foundation (NSF) has provided leadership in design and deployment of innovative cyberinfrastructure that can accelerate discoveries at the frontiers of U.S. science and engineering research, and lead to new discoveries and innovations,” said Manish Parashar, director of NSF’s Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (OAC). “Recognizing the proliferation and growing importance of cloud resources and services as part of the resource landscape, NSF is exploring the role these services can play as part of its cyberinfrastructure ecosystem in supporting science and engineering research and education. The E-CAS project is one aspect of our exploration of the role of cloud services and has the potential to not only demonstrate the effectiveness of current commercial cloud computing services in supporting a range of applications that are important to the science and engineering research communities, but also to enable these communities to leverage the innovative technologies and capabilities to significantly accelerate scientific discoveries.”

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The E-CAS project has two phases of funded campus-based projects addressing the acceleration of science. The first phase will support six different scientific and engineering applications and workflows with cloud allocations and resources for development and porting. After identifying two final projects selected from the original six, the second phase will commence for another year with a focus on delivering scientific results. Each phase will be followed by a community-led workshop to assess lessons learned and to define leading practices.

Proposals will be selected from two categories:

  • Time-to-science: to achieve the best time-to-solution for scientific application and workflows that may be time or situation sensitive; and
  • Innovation: to explore innovative use of heterogeneous hardware resources, serverless applications and/or machine learning to support and extend application workflows.

“We are excited to collaborate with Internet2 and the National Science Foundation,” said Ann Merrihew, Director, Education, at AWS. “We’re committed to supporting the research community by providing them with access to best-in-class cloud resources, including leading edge analytics and machine learning offerings. This technology can help to accelerate innovative research and ultimately reduce the time to science.”

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“Since its inception, Google Cloud has been advancing state-of-the-art modern computing infrastructures, and today’s scientific computing infrastructure provides a vast set of resources for researchers to leverage,” said Kevin Kells, Director of Google for Education. “In this partnership with Internet2 and the National Science Foundation, we are encouraging the research community to accelerate scientific discovery by developing innovative applications that harness the global-scale services provided by Google Cloud.”

The E-CAS project is guided by an external advisory board including leading academic experts in computational science and other fields, commercial cloud representatives, NSF program officers, and others. It leverages prior and concurrent NSF investments while creating a new model of scalable cloud service partnerships to enhance science in a broad spectrum of disciplines.

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