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NSF Requests Input on Future Needs for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure to Support Science and Engineering Research

Dear Colleague Letter: Request for Information on Future Needs for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure to Support Science and Engineering Research (NSF CI 2030)
Contributions must be made using the submission website on or before 5:00 PM Eastern time on April 5, 2017

In the past two decades, advanced cyberinfrastructure has become a critical element of science and engineering research - a result of the increasing scope and accuracy of simulations of natural and engineered systems as well as the growing volume of data generated by instruments, simulations, experiments and observations. The National Science Foundation (NSF) embraces an expansive, ecosystem view of research cyberinfrastructure - spanning advanced computing resources, data and software infrastructure, workflow systems and approaches, networking, cybersecurity and associated workforce development - elements whose design and deployment are motivated by evolving research priorities as well as the dynamics of the scientific process. The critical role of this broad spectrum of shared cyberinfrastructure resources, capabilities and services - and their integration - in enabling science and engineering research has been reaffirmed by the National Strategic Computing Initiative, which was announced in July 2015, and in the National Academies' 2016 report on Future Directions for NSF Advanced Computing Infrastructure to Support U.S. Science and Engineering in 2017-2020. While these efforts are computing-centric, they expose the inherent inseparability of computing from the larger cyber ecosystem. With this DCL, NSF seeks input that provides a holistic view of the future needs for advanced cyberinfrastructure for advancing the Nation's research enterprise.

In 2009, NSF undertook a community-informed analysis of cyberinfrastructure needs that led to the formulation of a vision, a strategy, and a set of programmatic initiatives together comprising the current NSF-wide effort entitled Cyberinfrastructure for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21). Since that analysis, many changes have taken place in terms of scientific challenges and opportunities as well as technological progress. To continue to take full advantage of the potential provided by cyberinfrastructure to advance science and engineering research, NSF is beginning to formulate an updated strategy as well as concrete plans for future investments in this area. In this endeavor, NSF will focus on complementing and supporting forward-looking cyberinfrastructure for research that institutions and universities are unlikely to be able to deploy on their own. In addition, NSF seeks to stimulate innovative use of cyberinfrastructure for research to spur advances not otherwise possible, particularly in emerging areas of science and engineering research. Finally, NSF supports the exploration of approaches to sustainability that address the unique needs of research cyberinfrastructure, including the scientific, technical and human aspects of cyberinfrastructure.

In this Request for Information (RFI), NSF encourages community input to inform the Foundation's strategy and plans for an advanced cyberinfrastructure that will enable the frontiers of science and engineering to continue to advance over the next decade and beyond (NSF CI 2030). This whole-of-NSF activity recognizes that researchers in different disciplines may need different resources; may have differing priorities for access, interoperability, and continuity; and may require external expertise to address the most critical problems in their discipline. We therefore strongly encourage researchers in all fields of science, engineering and education to respond to this Request for Information.

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