Big research, big needs: Campus workshop to look at cyberinfrastructure

To get advanced research, you need advanced computing. In a workshop next week, the campus will take stock of how much "cyberinfrastructure" it has now, and look at how much more it should add. The campus community is invited to sit in.

"Cyberinfrastructure for Research," which meets April 5 and 6, will start a dialogue on campus among faculty, researchers, research administrators, and the people who provide cyberinfrastructure and information technology. The goals include sharing advice and suggestions for developing strategic cyberinfrastructure resources at UC Davis.

Cyberinfrastructure, a dense mouthful of a word, refers to anything from distributed computing and support services to a global infrastructure supplied and used by people and groups in various research disciplines. It's vital because it supports campus researchers as they seek solutions for various problems challenging society, says a notice setting out the rationale for the workshop.

But supplying cyberinfrastructure isn't easy. The demands for more high-performance computing, network speed, data storage and cooling are growing at a phenomenal rate because of increases in computing power, the quantity of data, and requirements for more interdisciplinary collaboration. The growth has taxed the capacity of existing networks, support staffs, and storage and backup services.

The workshop opens at noon April 5 in the Genome Center, according to the agenda. Sessions include presentations on national, UC and regional perspectives, faculty perspectives, needs and issues, and break-out discussions. Day two sessions will meet in the Memorial Union.

Faculty presenters include Peter Yellowlees, Bertram Lu daescher, Louise Kellogg, S.J. Ben Yoo and Susan Ustin. They will speak starting at 2:50 p.m. April 5 in Room 1005 of the Genome Center.

"We're encouraging campus members to attend any of the first-day activities, including the presentations by the cyberinfrastructure organizations and those by our faculty," said Babette Schmitt, director for strategic planning and communications in Information and Educational Technology. People interested in attending, she said, should send an RSVP to Faculty who want to attend the workshop on Friday should send an email to the same list.

The workshop is sponsored by Barry M. Klein, vice chancellor for the Office of Research, and Peter M. Siegel, vice provost for IET and chief information officer for the campus. Other groups affiliated with higher education have also joined the discussion, including Educause, TeraGrid, Internet2, CENIC and the Open Science Grid.

Results from the workshop, and a preliminary map for developing cyberinfrastructure at UC Davis, will be shared with the campus later this spring.