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NCSA To Help Facilitate TGI RAILS

Researchers from the Taylor Geospatial Institute (TGI) Consortium institutions will now have access to the Regional AI Learning System (RAILS) to accelerate geospatial science and discovery, potentially saving months of time in data processing and analysis.

Launched in 2022 and led by St. Louis University, TGI connects eight universities and research centers to harness innovation in geospatial science, including the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Harris-Stowe State University, Missouri University of Science & Technology, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Missouri-St. Louis and Washington University in St. Louis.

TGI RAILS will be housed at the National Petascale Computing Facility administered by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at Illinois.

“We are providing a new way of servicing the geospatial community. The specialized focus of this system on geospatial and AI-related geospatial work is unique,” said William Kramer, executive director of the New Frontiers Initiative at Illinois. “As leaders in high-performance computing, this is a great opportunity for Illinois to collaborate with the TGI consortium and organize a focus around helping people make use of this technology.”

The U.S National Science Foundation awarded a $1 million grant in 2022 to Kramer, Shaowen Wang, professor and department head of the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science at Illinois, and TGI Chief Scientist for Food Security and Digital Agriculture Vasit Sagan to establish TGI RAILS and bring a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence resource to the geospatial research community.

“It is an interesting experiment that we have not done before at NCSA in that the support will be distributed across the TGI institutions,” Kramer said. “It is going to be a very integrated way of helping people make use of this system, some with local support people and, at NCSA, we’ll provide some backup for those people.”

Learn more about TGI RAILS in the full announcement from the Taylor Geospatial Institute.


The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign provides supercomputing, expertise and advanced digital resources for the nation’s science enterprise. At NCSA, University of Illinois faculty, staff, students and collaborators from around the globe use innovative resources to address research challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been assisting many of the world’s industry giants for over 35 years by bringing industry, researchers and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.

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