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Ceci Jones Schrock
Indiana University Office of the Vice President for Information Technology and CIO

Last modified: Thursday, September 6, 2012

IU named one of six partners to develop NSF Science Gateway Institute


September 6, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.— A recent National Science Foundation (NSF) grant will further enable Indiana University to help scientists solve their toughest data problems.

The NSF has selected Indiana University as a partner in a grant to create the Science Gateway Institute. The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego is the lead institution on the one-year, $500,000 planning grant. Partner institutions include Elizabeth City State University; Indiana University; Purdue University; the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas, Austin; and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Science gateways are web-based portals and tools that let researchers pool resources and, as a result, save money and time. As such, these gateways are at the heart of cutting-edge research in areas such as physics, medicine and earthquake science.

IU is a leader in science gateway development. The university's Science Gateways Group (part of the Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute) supports a variety of gateway initiatives, including the NSF-funded Open Grid Computing Environments (OGCE). This project develops, packages and releases software for building science gateways.

"It's an honor to have a hand in the creation of the Science Gateway Institute," said Marlon Pierce, assistant director of IU's Science Gateways Group and OGCE principal investigator. "IU has a strong history of leadership in the gateway community, and we hope to use our knowledge to continue to advance science."

Pierce noted that Suresh Marru, principal software architect for IU's Science Gateways Group, currently serves as program manager for the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) science gateway program. "We anticipate the Science Gateway Institute complementing XSEDE's support of the entire life cycle of gateway development, including front-end portal interfaces," said Marru.

Pierce and Marru are also active in the Apache Software Foundation, a community of developers focused on creating open, collaboratively developed software. Pierce, in particular, would like to see science gateways explore open governance as a way to become more sustainable. Notably, the foundation recently asked Marru to join its exclusive membership. This honor is bestowed on IT developers whose skills have significantly contributed to the foundation's projects.

By creating the Science Gateway Institute, the NSF hopes to provide full lifecycle support for those developing science and engineering gateways, and to train the next generation of gateway developers. For its part, IU will draft a plan for incubator services that nurture new gateways, through business plan development and review as well as software licensing and security.