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Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering  (CIF21) Crosscutting Programs NSF Wide Programs

CIF21 Vision Statement

CIF21 will provide a comprehensive, integrated, sustainable, and secure cyberinfrastructure (CI) to accelerate research and education and new functional capabilities in computational and data-intensive science and engineering, thereby transforming our ability to effectively address and solve the many complex problems facing science and society.


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Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21) is a portfolio of activities to provide integrated cyber resources that will enable new multidisciplinary research opportunities in all science and engineering fields by leveraging ongoing investments and using common approaches and components.

Researchers in all fields of science and engineering are being challenged in two key directions.  The first challenge is to push beyond the current boundaries of knowledge to provide ever-deeper insights through fundamental disciplinary research by addressing increasingly complex questions, which often requires extremely sophisticated integration of theoretical, experimental, observational and simulation and modeling results.  These efforts, which have relied heavily on observing platforms and other data collection efforts, computing facilities, software, advanced networking, analytics, visualization and models have led to important breakthroughs in all areas of science and engineering and represent a very strong bottom-up approach to the necessary research infrastructure. 

The second, and more extensive challenge, is to synthesize these fundamental groundbreaking efforts across multiple fields to transform scientific and engineering research into an endeavor that integrates the deep knowledge and research capabilities developed within the universities, industry and government labs. Individuals, teams and communities need to be able work together; likewise, instruments, facilities (including Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction projects, or MREFCs), datasets, and cyberservices must be integrated from the group to the campus to the national scales. One can imagine secure, geographically-distributed infrastructure components, including advanced computing facilities, scientific and engineering instruments, software environments, advanced networks, data storage capabilities, and critically important human capital and expertise. Greater understanding is also needed about how scientific and research communities will evolve in the presence of new cyberinfrastructure. 

More details can be found in the 2012 CIF21 Vision.