The grant funds staffing and training, and expands the network of shared computing resources available to support SDSU’s growing research activities.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) jointly established the University of California San Diego, San Diego State University and California State University, San Bernardino a Five-year, $6.7 million grant to support cyber infrastructure (CI) training and resources..
UCSD and its San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) are the primary recipients of the grant. SDSU Graduate Mary Thomas is Principal Investigator (PI) for the interdisciplinary training program and Computational Data Scientist and leader of the High Performance Computing training at the SDSC.
For SDSU, the grant will enable the recruitment of a full-time Interdisciplinary Research Expert (IRP) and the creation of a faculty CI Fellow program with the goal of increasing faculty and staff training opportunities. The CyberTraining program will leverage and contribute training materials developed for CI training and other programs impacting users including students, researchers and educators. It focuses on four main areas: recruitment and training, science and engineering (S&E) project matching and mentoring, S&E research consultancy, and promotion and participation in interdisciplinary CI communities.
SDSU’s IRP will report to the university’s Chief Technology Research Officer and will support the training of various academic units at SDSU’s San Diego and Imperial Valley campuses. The faculty grantee will be a link to the broader SDSU faculty and serve as a liaison that connects leading-edge cyber infrastructure expertise with faculty capacity and curriculum. It is an extension of an instructional technology model that SDSU has been developing for more than a decade.
In addition to human resources, the grant also improves access to computing resources for students, faculty and researchers at SDSU. As part of the NSF’s Cyberinfrastructure program, SDSU will have access to the NSF ACCESS Computational Science Support Network (CSSN), a national network of supercomputers that can be tapped when the university’s demand exceeds its internal capacity. Such scalability becomes increasingly important as SDSU’s computationally intensive research activity increases and the university continues its ascent towards “R1” classification as a top-notch research facility.
“The program not only creates new internal resources, but also creates an important bridge from our campus to a national community of subject matter experts with cutting-edge skills in cyber infrastructure,” he said Jerry Sheehan, SDSU vice president of information technology and chief information officer. “As we expand our skills and expertise within SDSU, CI staff and trainees will also be in close contact across institutions, accelerating knowledge transfer and fostering collaboration in the CI research community.”
In 2022, the NSF included Growing Convergence Research in its “10 big ideas.” Convergence research connects experts working together to solve problems that require a wide and diverse range of knowledge, methodologies, expertise, scientific disciplines, and CI skills. As Hispanic-serving institutions with significant representation from underrepresented communities, the addition of SDSU and CSU San Bernardino to the grant award expands the convergence research ecosystem and fosters the NSF’s goal to expand participation in engineering.
The NSF grant is consistent with the SDSU Five Year Strategic Plan, which includes a commitment to “Becoming a Leading Public Research University: A New Kind of HSI.” Part of this commitment is to “develop infrastructures and resources that enable the growth of our research activities while supporting excellence in teaching.”
“It’s an ideal fit,” Sheehan said. “This cyber infrastructure grant fulfills both sides of the strategic goal – giving us the scalable computing resources to enable more research while leveraging training and the Faculty Fellow program to expand that expertise among our faculty and students.”