CyberBridges workshop creates cyberinfrastructure research community

The country’s emerging experts and researchers in cyberinfrastructure gathered in Arlington, Virginia, June 2-3 for the third annual NSF CyberBridges Workshop. Almadena Chtchelkanova, program director of the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), which sponsored the event, called the workshop a “successful and much needed activity.”

The workshop was chaired by researchers from Purdue University and Mississippi State University.

“The goal of the workshop was to bring together the community of researchers to share ideas, build collaborations, and develop the next generation of faculty researchers in cyberinfrastructure and high-performance computing,” said Thomas Hacker, Ph.D., co-chair of the workshop and associate professor of computer and information technology at Purdue University.

Co-chair Suzanne Shontz, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics at Mississippi State University, added, "Our workshop was a great success again this year. We are starting to focus on community-building activities since the workshop has been offered three times. We are looking forward to working with the cyberinfrastructure NSF CAREER awardees on further development of the community."

Junior faculty who are recipients of NSF CAREER awards related to cyberinfrastructure attended the two-day workshop. They participated in a poster session, an interactive panel with NSF program directors, and keynote presentations from senior leaders in the field.

“It’s wonderful that a critical mass of young computational scientists and engineers are able to find one another through NSF’s agency and understand that there are others who are thinking the same thoughts and envisioning the same visions and who can become collaborators,” said David Keyes, professor of applied mathematics and computational science at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. He was a keynote speaker on computational- and data-enabled science and engineering at the workshop. “It’s great when a specialization like this self identifies and comes together,” he said.

Interdisciplinary collaboration among the researchers is an important component of the workshop. All of the faculty attendees incorporated computational science, high-performance computing, visualization, and/or cyberinfrastructure into their research and education activities, which encompassed computer science and engineering, mechanical, civil, and aerospace engineering, as well as physics, chemistry, and biology.

“You have these people who are focused on specialized topics at the intersection of different disciplines, and that is something we really needed to create,” said Sushil Prasad, professor of computer science at Georgia State University and a keynote speaker on education at the workshop. “What I’m hoping is that this effect gets enlarged so these folks become agents in their own communities, so they can take these ideas and propagate them further.”

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