Purdue part of program to expand XSEDE, the NSF’s Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment

  • September 1, 2016
  • Science Highlights

Purdue is one of 19 partner institutions awarded a $110 million, five-year National Science Foundation grant to build on and expand the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE).

XSEDE accelerates open scientific discovery and broadens participation in advanced computing by lowering the barriers for researchers, engineers and scholars to use and access cutting-edge computing and other digital resources. At Purdue, the XSEDE project is led by Carol Song, a senior research scientist with Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP).

“Purdue has contributed to NSF high-performance computing initiatives throughout the TeraGrid and XSEDE 1 projects,” says Song. “Our team is excited to be part of XSEDE 2.0 and to continue to support researchers around the country.”

Several staff members from ITaP Research Computing play key roles in XSEDE’s Extended Collaborative Support Service. They provide in-depth consulting support to users and help researchers more effectively use resources such as high-performance computing clusters and data-intensive computing systems, as well as develop web-based science gateways to ease access to such resources.

In addition, Purdue’s Kay Hunt created and now leads the XSEDE’s Campus Champions program, which connects and supports local representatives at more than 200 institutions nationwide and helps them connect faculty at their universities to XSEDE resources.

Purdue’s campus champion, Xiao Zhu, an ITaP senior research scientist, is available to speak with Purdue faculty or students who are interested in learning more about XSEDE or how it may be useful in their research.

The new award, known as XSEDE 2.0, will continue the efforts begun when XSEDE first received NSF funding in 2011. In particular, it will allow XSEDE to:

  • Manage and deliver services for a portfolio of supercomputers and high-end visualization and data analysis resources to address increasingly diverse scientific and engineering challenges, including innovations in workflows to ease access to new and existing systems.
  • Build on XSEDE’s user services and engage a more diverse body of researchers through education, training and outreach activities and by connecting to campus high-performance computing communities to help researchers access local and national resources.
  • Offer extended collaborative support services, which pair XSEDE computational or software engineering experts with domain scientists to strengthen a project or develop a tool needed to advance research, the Purdue team’s specialty.
  • Continue to operate and improve XSEDE's integrated national high-performance computing systems, providing a one-stop-shop for users across the XSEDE-coordinated cyberinfrastructure.

Last year, XSEDE provided computational and data services to more than 6,000 scientists, engineers and students. Through its web portal, it supported more than 20,000 users. In the first four years of the project, users acknowledged support by XSEDE and its related computational resources in roughly 14,000 publications.

Among other things, food science researchers at Purdue have used XSEDE resources to explore ideas for using natural starch and protein molecules as delivery vehicles with potential uses ranging from making tastier gluten-free bread to making chemotherapy easier on cancer patients. Purdue research computing staff members who support XSEDE researchers also have been involved in studying apoptosis, programmed cell death, which can be related to a variety of diseases including cancers, and they helped develop a biomedical imaging technique capable of capturing mechanical properties of bodily tissue, which could improve diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and other diseases. Several of Purdue’s science gateway projects, including DiaGrid and WaterHUB, are also connected to XSEDE and have benefited from it.

For more information about XSEDE 2.0 at Purdue, contact Song at cxsong@purdue.edu or Zhu at zhuxiao@purdue.edu.

Originally posted: September 1, 2016 2:31pm EDT