The grant funds staffing and training, expands the network of shared computing resources available to support SDSU’s growing research activity.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has jointly awarded the University of California, San Diego, San Diego State University, and California State University, San Bernardino a $6.7 million grant over five years to support Cyber Infrastructure (CI) training and resources.
UCSD and its San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) are the primary recipients of the grant. SDSU alumnus Mary Thomas is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Interdisciplinary and Data Computing Science Training Program and Head of High Performance Computing Training at SDSC.
For SDSU, the grant enables the hiring of a full-time Interdisciplinary Research Professional (IRP) and the creation of a CI Faculty Fellowship Program, with the goal of improving training opportunities for the faculty. faculty and staff. The CyberTraining program will use and contribute to training materials developed for CI training and other programs, impacting users including students, researchers, and educators. It focuses on four main areas: recruitment and training, science and engineering (M&E) project matching and mentoring, M&E research consultancy, and promotion and participation in interdisciplinary CI professional communities. .
The SDSU IRP will report to the university’s Director of Technology Research and support the training of the various academic units at SDSU’s San Diego and Imperial Valley campuses. The Faculty Fellow will serve as a liaison with the entire SDSU faculty and serve as a nexus connecting cutting-edge cyberinfrastructure expertise with faculty capabilities and course curricula. It is an extension of an instructional technology model that SDSU has pioneered for more than a decade.
In addition to human resources, the grant also improves access to computing resources for SDSU students, faculty, and researchers. Under the NSF Cyberinfrastructure Program, SDSU has access to the NSF ACCESS Computational Science Support Network (CSSN), a nationwide network of supercomputers that can be tapped when the university’s demand exceeds its internal capacity. Such scalability becomes increasingly vital as SDSU’s computationally intensive research activity grows and the university continues its ascent to “R1” classification as a leading research institution.
“The program not only creates new internal resources, but also an important bridge between our campus and a nationwide community of subject matter experts with cutting-edge cyberinfrastructure skills,” said jerry sheehan, SDSU Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer. “As we expand our capabilities and expertise within SDSU, CI staff and trainees will also be in close contact between institutions, accelerating knowledge transfer and fostering collaboration in the CI research community.”
In 2022, the NSF included Growing Convergence Research among its “10 great ideas.” Convergence research connects experts who work together to solve problems that require a broad and diverse set of CI knowledge, methods, expertise, scientific disciplines, and capabilities. As Hispanic-serving institutions with meaningful representation from underrepresented communities, the inclusion of SDSU and CSU San Bernardino in the grant award expands the convergence research ecosystem and advances the NSF’s goal to broaden participation in engineering.
NSF grant aligns with SDSUs five-year strategic plan, which includes a commitment to “Becoming a leading public research university: a new kind of HSI.” Part of this commitment is to “develop infrastructure and resources that allow our research activity to grow while continuing to support excellence in teaching”.
“It’s an ideal fit,” Sheehan said. “This cyberinfrastructure grant meets both sides of the strategic objective – giving us the scalable computing resources to enable more research while using faculty training and curriculum to build this expertise among our faculty and students.”