CLEMSON – The National Science Foundation has awarded a consortium of 28 universities, led by Clemson University, a $750,000 grant to fund a Research Coordination Network to set up a national forum for the exchange and dissemination of best practices, expertise, and technologies to enable the advancement of campus-based research computing activities.

The project, titled “RCN: Advancing Research and Education Through a National Network of Campus Research Computing Infrastructures – The CaRC Consortium,” is designed to bring together a wide range of campuses and community stakeholders to form a novel, yet complementary, element of an evolving and expanding national cyberinfrastructure ecosystem.

The project’s initial collaborating institutions are: Clemson University, Harvard University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Utah, University of Southern California, University of Hawaii, University of Oklahoma, University of California-Berkeley, Oklahoma State University, Ohio Supercomputer Center, University of Missouri, University of Miami, Yale University, Florida Atlantic University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Brandeis University, Kansas State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Stanford University, Arizona State University, Montana State University, University of Minnesota, University of Virginia, University of Colorado Boulder, and University of Notre Dame.

Jim Bottum, Research Professor and Director of the Center of Excellence in Next Generation Computing and Creativity at Clemson and Internet2 Fellow, serves as CaRC’s principal investigator.

“We are very excited about the potential of CaRC,” Bottum said. “A growing number of universities are recognizing the need for strong, centralized Cyberinfrastructure support for research, and CaRC gives campuses the ability to accelerate their growth on the maturity curve and enhance their local capacities through the partnership.”

Dr. Thomas Cheatham, Director of the University of Utah’s Center for High Performance Computing and a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, will serve as the CaRC’s inaugural chair, to guide the consortium in its start-up activities and to engage the membership in developing its national engagement program.

“Research computing needs on campuses are exploding and they are straining the capacity of our local resources,” said Cheatham. “To reach the challenge of fully enabling the growing needs, we need to break the silos to better communicate and collaborate with other campuses, regional and national CI entities to ultimately better share, develop, and optimize our people, collective experiences, and resources.”

Dr. Nicholas Tsinoremas, founding Director of the University of Miami’s Center for Computational Science (CCS), will also serve as a co-principal investigator and as the CaRC’s inaugural vice chair. Dr. Miron Livny, Professor of Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will also serve as a co-principal investigator on the project.

“CaRC represents an exciting opportunity to create a vibrant community that emphasizes the strategic nature of research computing through facilitating the sharing of resources and expertise,” Tsinoremas said.

Lauren Michael, a research computing facilitator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will be a participant in the CaRC network and work to connect it to the already successful NSF-funded Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Research and Educational Facilitation project, which has deployed research facilitators at six campuses across the country to assist researchers with their computational needs.

“CaRC is a natural next step in our journey to advance the impact of computing on scientific discovery through a collaborative network of professionals located on campuses across the US,” Michael said. “I am looking forward to building the new consortium on the foundations placed by the network of Research Computing facilitators that was pioneered by the ACI-REF Project.”

CaRC will offer a program of activities at a national scale, including the sharing of knowledge, best practices, software and hardware technologies, expertise, workforce development, and professional development. The project officially began on July 1.


This material is based upon work supported by the NSF under Grant Nos. #1620695 and #1341935. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.