Skip to main content

UIUC, U of I System Commit $50 Million to Support NCSA Services for Campus Researchers

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the University of Illinois System have announced significant new investments in world-class computing and data resources for campus researchers and students. The National Center for Supercomputing Applications will lead these efforts, building on decades of expertise in delivering advanced cyberinfrastructure to the nation’s research community. 

Totaling $50 million over five years – $30 million provided by UIUC and $20 million from the U of I System – the complementary funding agreements will support infrastructure for the Illinois Campus Cluster Program (ICCP), an artificial intelligence computing system, other computing and data equipment, and user services and training, which includes staff, software licenses and maintenance.

Thanks to these commitments, NCSA is launching Illinois Computes, a pilot program offering computing and data storage resources, technical expertise and support services to researchers from all domains across the U of I System who also may have a broad range of needs, whether they be simple or more complex. Through the program, NCSA will learn what additional assets are needed to fulfill the system’s computing demands while making access to computing systems, interdisciplinary and technical knowledge, and support infrastructure easy to obtain.

“This sustained investment in support of research computing and data will bring advanced computing to our campus and the entire University of Illinois System, ensuring that Illinois researchers will be able to exploit the transformative power of computing in their work,” said NCSA Director Bill Gropp.

The two funding commitments exemplify the collaborative mindset of the U of I System and its three universities – UIUC, the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) and the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) – in their mission as one of the nation’s premier public institutions of higher education. As a leading research university, UIC already has a strong history of partnership with NCSA, including in the art of visualization between the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at UIC and NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Laboratory.

“We are proud to support University of Illinois researchers with the state-of-the-art cyberinfrastructure and resources NCSA can provide,” Chancellor Robert Jones said. “This is an exciting opportunity for any researcher – faculty or student – to access the computing resources they may need to advance their work and lift it to the next level. The University of Illinois is one of the premier research institutions in the world and will continue to lead and innovate, in part, because of this organizational support.”

“Strengthening the bonds between our three premier universities will only elevate the impact the U of I System can have locally, nationally and worldwide,” U of I System President Tim Killeen said. “Establishing a lasting framework for our researchers and faculty across all campuses to collaborate and use NCSA’s leading-edge tools and technologies will lead to more dynamic innovation and thought-provoking exploration.”

Difficult to fund exclusively through external grants, the ICCP and additional training and support services provided by NCSA provide an entry point to advanced computing for all faculty and student researchers on system campuses. By eliminating many of the barriers some may face in the course of their work, Illinois Computes continues NCSA’s mission of democratizing access to these computing resources.

Also provided are critical data storage, infrastructure support for secure computing and data, and exploratory systems to keep Illinois at the forefront of computing technology. 

An important goal of Illinois Computes is to support computing in all areas of scholarship and to help both experienced HPC users and researchers looking to transform their work with advanced computing. This is reflected in the campus and system commitments to support both computing infrastructure and the user support that is needed to help researchers across all three campuses make the best use of these resources.

Bill Gropp, NCSA Director

This funding is in addition to the current UIUC campus Research IT budget. The cyberinfrastructure funded by this commitment will be housed in the National Petascale Computing Facility, with user services staff housed in the NCSA building.

A System Research Computing Advisory Committee will be established, consisting of one or two appointed members from each of the three universities and the U of I System, including the Discovery Partners Institute, as well as one or two members from NCSA to represent the operations and provide timely information to the committee. This committee will provide advice to NCSA on system configuration and will review and approve acquisition plans. It will also provide an annual report to the U of I System and each campus on the operation of this project and recommendations for any changes in the investment.

Resource allocations will be managed by each institution from their share of the resource. NCSA will provide tools to manage these, leveraging previous and current federal investments.

Illinois Computes offers computing and data storage resources, technical expertise and support services to researchers from all domains across the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus at little to no cost. Through the campus-funded program, NCSA will learn what additional assets are needed to fulfill the computing demands of the university and adjust the cyberinfrastructure strategy while continuing to make access to systems, interdisciplinary and technical knowledge, and support infrastructure easy to obtain. Illinois Computes removes barriers for all Illinois researchers – especially those typically underserved – to access NCSA’s growing assemblage of research computing tools and world-class staff, furthering their innovative and novel work while ensuring NCSA is a leader in the global research community.

Check out the Illinois Computes website for more information or to get involved.

Back to top