What a year!

08.27.12 -

As the first year of the XSEDE project draws to a close, I have been reflecting on the myriad activities that have gone on in starting up the project.

I've also been looking to the year ahead and our exciting plans going forward. In no small part, this has been prompted by our first major review that recently was conducted by the National Science Foundation. As a high-profile project, of which there are many expectations, this was a particularly critical review to see if we were off to a good start and heading in the right direction. Although at this writing we are still awaiting the review panel report, the review was extremely positive and the process will provide many benefits to XSEDE going forward. And as this issue goes to press, we are concluding our first XSEDE conference.

With a project as large and complex as XSEDE, there is nothing like a review by your funding agency to get you to think about how to crisply articulate the many successes and their value to the community. While we have certainly established many internal processes necessary to support the project and make it effective, the visible impacts can be summed up pretty well. Just through the first three quarters of our first year, we:

  • supported nearly 2,000 projects
  • supported almost 9,000 researchers
  • saw XSEDE researchers publish more than 1,800 papers!

Also of particular interest, we have begun important new efforts that expand the scope of the project. Our Campus Bridging program focuses on incorporating campus cyberinfrastructure into the national ecosystem. Our Novel and Innovative Projects program provides proactive sustained efforts to jump-start projects by researchers in non-traditional domains. And XSEDE's Education and Outreach team provides inventive efforts in working with universities to develop certificate and degree programs to foster the next-generation workforce.

With the project now on a solid footing and geared up, we are excited about the coming months and years. We'll be ramping up the rate at which we deliver value to the community in many areas, ranging from defining a new standard for developing and deploying a diverse distributed system architecture that supports a broad range of resources and services, to facilitating a broadening range of ground-breaking research. This will be accomplished by the deployment of a number of new capabilities and provisioning of these services through an integrated XSEDE User Portal, our one-stop shop for all things XSEDE.

XSEDE has established itself as a program that is leading the world in demonstrating how to provide cyberinfrastructure services and enable research and education. We are laying the foundations for a fundamentally different future. In 50 years, we expect that leaders will look back and note many important technical achievements, and I'm confident that they will view XSEDE as a seminal project affecting long-term cultural, social, and technical changes for the benefit of our country and our planet.

John Towns
PI and Project Director, XSEDE
Director, Collaborative
Cyberinfrastructure Programs
NCSA