The Centrality of Advanced Digitally ENabled Science (CADENS) is a National Science Foundation-supported project to increase digital literacy and inform the general public about computational and data-enabled scientific discovery. Additional questions not covered in this FAQ can be address to

  • Participation in this project increases the broad impact of research and this broad impact can be reported to the National Science Foundation in reports and proposals.
  • Project participants get access to professionals and experts to visualize their research data. These visualizations will be made freely available.
  • Project visualizations will be professionally packaged with scripts, interviews, music, narration, and will be widely distributed by professionals with a successful record of science and public outreach.
  • External evaluation of these visualizations and programs will produce “lessons learned” for future research proposals. Project participants will build relationships with outreach professionals and increase potential for future outreach projects.

First you will need to fill out the form. We may require a follow up telephone conversation about your data or visualizations submitted with the form. If your work is selected to be part of a program, we will ask that your data be transferred to NCSA for visualizations, or that you give us access to your visualizations for inclusion. You will be asked to sign permission form to use your data/visualizations for project purposes.

You will continue to fully own copyright to your data and visualizations; however, you will be asked to sign a permission form to include your data/visualizations in the educational science programs and to post online. The National Science Foundation hopes to broadly circulate work from the CADENS project, including making it available to educators.

In collaboration with science and engineering teams, visualization experts, writers, producers, museum distributors and a distinguished national Science Advisory Committee over the next three years, CADENS will produce:

  • 3 ultra-high-resolution digital films that will premiere at giant screen fulldome theaters in museums, planetariums, science centers and will be scaled for global distribution to smaller theaters and academic institutions;
  • 9 high-definition documentary programs to be distributed online via YouTube, Hulu, Amazon, and other popular online outlets, including NSF television.

The CADENS project is led by Donna Cox, director of the Advanced Visualization Laboratory (AVL) at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and professor in the School of Art and Design, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The project team includes Thomas Lucas, producer/director of more than 30 major science documentary films; Bill Kramer, leader of the Blue Waters NSF project; and John Towns, leader of the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) NSF projects; and Robert Patterson, Advanced Visualization Lab, NCSA. Spitz Creative Media will be a key contributor and distributor. A distinguished Science Advisory Committee composed of individuals across disciplines and professional societies will advise. An independent STEM team will externally evaluate and report on the project.

CADENS is looking for a variety of science topics. Examples include:

  • Social science, Ecology, pandemic and disease modeling, etc.
  • Severe weather, earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, hurricanes, etc.
  • Lifecycle of stars, black holes, space weather, evolution of universe, etc.
  • Census analyses, economic modeling, etc.
  • Climate change, environment, water sustainability, alternative energy etc.
  • Biophysics, virology, medicine, etc.
  • Materials, nanoscience, etc.

CADENS is primarily looking for research that depends upon advanced cyber-infrastructure, including computational science, data-enabled research from numerical archives, or digitally-enabled research such as data from telescopes. If you don’t have numerical data but have a research topic of interest to the public, CADENS will consider its relationship within a larger story context and support the story of digitally-enabled science. Please submit

After completing a short initial web form describing your work, you will be contacted by email to set up a phone call with the CADENS project team, to further discuss your data and/or visualizations. The process will be iterative and we expect final decisions will be made by early spring of 2015.

The submissions will be internally reviewed and not shared with anyone except an internal committee. Nothing will be published or made public without your permission.

Final selection will be based upon several criteria that help identify projects that convey forefront research and the scientific process. A team of data visualization experts, writers, and distributors will create an assessment in collaboration with a distinguished national Science Advisory Committee. CADENS asks the following questions:

  • How does the computation, data analysis or advanced digital technologies help researchers find the answer to the problem?
  • When developed as part of a larger story, will the research be insightful to the broader public?
  • Does the work represent an advancement of the field?
  • Are there constraints about the data or visualizations (size, frequency, etc)?
  • Are the researchers willing to collaborate with the project team?