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iSGTW Link of the Week - SDSC Director Urges Academia to Make CI Real

Link of the week - SDSC director urges academia to make cyberinfrastructure "real"


Francine Berman.

Image courtesy of SDSC.

Comprising the "infrastructure" for the Information Age, cyberinfrastructure-the organized aggregate of information technologies such as computers, data networks, digital storage systems, and scientific expertise-is essential for future research advancement and discovery. In this month's EDUCAUSE Review, Fran Berman, director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego, makes the case for investment in cyberinfrastructure as part of the "IT bill" for the Information Age.

Just as technology transformed the Industrial Age, Berman writes that cyberinfrastructure has the potential to be a key driver of the Information Age, particularly with the explosive growth in digital data that is creating a new set of challenges in information management, storage, and long-term preservation.

The challenge is that in the research and education community, cyberinfrastructure is both a continuous work-in-progress and a stable infrastructure driver for invention and innovation.

"The academic community continues to struggle to provision and sustain broad-use community CI within traditional academic frameworks," writes Berman. "Changing this will involve a paradigm shift in the way we think about designing, evolving, provisioning, and learning about CI."

While Berman notes that this practice may be "new territory" for faculty researchers and educators, forward-looking academic institutions are launching CI-based initiatives. At UC San Diego, SDSC is preparing to open a new, 80,000 square-foot addition this fall that will double the size of the facility. The new structure will be a key promoter of cyberinfrastructure and interdisciplinary research, while expanding the SDSC data center-already one of the largest academic data centers in the world.

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