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News Release 05-185

NSF Makes Cyberinfrastructure-TEAM Awards

New program prepares a cyber-savvy workforce

CI-TEAM program prepares cyber-savvy workforce

NSF's new CI-TEAM program supports research and education for a cyber-savvy workforce.

October 18, 2005

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded 11 projects for a total of over $2.6 million in the inaugural year of its Cyberinfrastructure (CI)-TEAM program. CI-TEAM signals NSF's commitment to join the national science and engineering community in preparing a cyber-savvy workforce that possesses the knowledge and skills to create, advance and exploit cyberinfrastructure.

Broadly defined, the term "cyberinfrastructure" encompasses the technology and network systems that have infiltrated every aspect of today's modern world. From the farmer who uses a global positioning system to pinpoint fertilization needs in fields to the consumer who pays their monthly bills online with a few keystrokes, cyberinfrastructure is everywhere.

Information technology systems, tools and services have also integrated into an international cyberinfrastructure resource that has revolutionized science and engineering research. To harness the full power of cyberinfrastructure and its promise for discovery, learning and innovation, a sustained investment to train current and future generations of scientists and engineers is paramount.

"CI-TEAM represents the investment in people needed to complement our investment in cyberinfrastructure technology to ensure it is used, useful and usable," explained Miriam Heller, a program manager in NSF's Office of Cyberinfrastructure.

This first CI-TEAM solicitation sought promising "demonstration projects" effectively engaged in national and global research and education activities involving cyberinfrastructure. Each project will last 1-2 years and be supported with approximately $250,000.

The successful proposals cover a wide variety of cyberinfrastructure resources, research areas and educational mechanisms. Examples follow.

  • More than 50 percent of the world's population lives less than 100 miles from a coastline, geographic areas regularly challenged with environmental degradation and extreme events. The availability of cyberinfrastructure to support data-intensive modeling and simulation of coastal processes would transform the ability of scientists and engineers to improve water quality and resource management, emergency preparedness and response, and planned development impact studies.

The University of Florida's Renato Figueiredo trains members of coastal science and engineering communities to develop and use a cyberinfrastructure that incorporates grid computing systems, middleware and web-based portals for access to interactive hydrodynamic modeling software. The University of Florida, a national estuarine research reserve, and a Fla. water management district serve as the project's leaders.

Through "science gateways" operating on standard web browsers, users learn to run hydrodynamic simulations on powerful computing resources connected via grid. The associated middleware, functioning in the background to ensure interoperability of the entire system, allows users to work with a range of simulators, coded in a variety of computer languages with diverse user interfaces.

  • Scientists can detect rarely occurring ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECRs), but their origin is unknown. Because UHECRs have energies 10 million times stronger than the highest energy man-made particles, learning more about them has been identified as a national priority.

Helio Takai, at Brookhaven National Laboratory, devised an unconventional technique to search for the source of UHECRs by simultaneously acquiring and analyzing real-time detection and GPS data over multiple sites. For the CI-TEAM project, Takai engaged high-school and community college teachers and students at 13 detector sites in the New York region to search for UHECRs while they learn about leading-edge energy physics and cyberinfrastructure. The networked detector sites allow a distributed set of students to work first-hand in cosmic physics while utilizing advanced computing tools and infrastructure.

  • Engineers, including those building "snake-inspired robots," now routinely design and analyze complex prototypes on computers, rather than building and testing actual physical models. Their small diameter, locomotion characteristics and maneuverability make snake-inspired robots well suited for applications in homeland security and defense, urban search and rescue, and minimally-invasive surgeries. However, a multitude of challenges must be dealt with before realizing a functional, finished machine. Expertise in chemistry, computer science, electronics, materials science and physics come into play.

If the contribution of each discipline is thought of as an individual "model," the finished robot represents the comprehensive model, built using knowledge and data from unrelated sources. Correctly interpreting and combining the disparate models challenges even the best engineers and calls for more holistic, interdisciplinary training and collaborative design.

To address such engineering complexities, Drexel University's William Regli, together with his collaborators at three other universities, envision a new discipline termed "engineering informatics," which trains engineers to use the tools of cyberinfrastructure to efficiently merge informational models.

Regli's demonstration project uses a multi-course curriculum focused on employing cyberinfrastructure for collaborative model building, allowing virtual teams of student engineers advance the state-of-the-art in snake-inspired robotic systems while training to exploit cyberinfrastructure for other applications.

Complete list of 2005 CI-TEAM awards:

Adler Planetarium / L. Fortson


Introducing High School Science Teachers to 21st Century Research Techniques by Cyberinfrastructure

Drexel University / W. Regli


Exploiting Cyber-Infrastructure for Creation and Use of Multi-Disciplinary Engineering Models

Florida International University / H. Alvarez



Institute for Higher Education Policy / G. Fox


Bringing Minority Serving Institution Faculty into the Cyberinfrastructure and e-Science Communities

Ohio State University Research Foundation / S. Gordon


Leveraging Cyberinfrastructure to Scale-Up a Computational Science Undergraduate Curriculum

Pennsylvania State University / T. Simpson (lead)


University of Missouri-Rolla / R. Stone


SUNY at Buffalo / K. Lewis


Drexel University / W. Regli


Collaborative Research: Cyber-Infrastructure-Based Engineering Repositories for Undergraduates (CIBER-U)

Shodor Education Foundation Inc / R. Panoff


Pathways to CyberInfrastructure
SRI International / C. DiGiano


Preparing for Cybercollaboration Between Scientists and Software Developers

SUNY at Stony Brook / H. Takai


Cyberinfrastructure via MARIACHI

University of Florida / R. Figueiredo


Coastal and Estuarine Science Cyberinfrastructure: Training and Deployment

Virginia Tech / O. Crasta


Cyberinfrastructure Through Project-Centric Bioinformatics


Media Contacts
Richard (Randy) Vines, NSF, (703) 292-7963, email:

Program Contacts
Miriam Heller, NSF, (703) 292-7025, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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