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NSFFutureCloud research resources expand into Phase III

August 13, 2020

The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced Phase III of its NSFFutureCloud program, investing an additional $20 million into the Chameleon and CloudLab platforms.  With over 4,000 users on each platform, Chameleon and CloudLab are enabling the academic research community to develop and experiment with novel cloud architectures and pursue new, architecturally-enabled applications of cloud computing.

"These platforms are a great example of how shared infrastructure can save the academic community time and money while catalyzing new research results,” said Deepankar Medhi, Program Director in CISE’s Division of Computer and Network Systems (CNS). “CISE is pleased to continue supporting these important resources, thus allowing researchers to conduct new lines of research and students to learn new technologies.”

In Phase III, Chameleon will greatly expand its core capabilities by adding new hardware and new features. The range of supported experiments will expand to include Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing, a broader range of networking experiments, and experimentation with disaggregated hardware. The system will also expand its support for reproducibility by providing tools that allow investigators to package their experiments for replication, and making it possible to publish, discover, and cite them easily. Finally, Phase III will see a continuation of work on packaging Chameleon Infrastructure, known as CHI-in-a-Box, which allows others to deploy and manage testbeds similar to Chameleon. 

Similarly, CloudLab will expand to an additional several hundred servers to meet high demand. It will also add new technologies, such as IoT devices, programmable network cards, and non-volatile random-access memory, which will in turn support research on data-intensive computing and computing at the edge of the network.

Ultimately, the goal of these two resources, and the NSF FutureCloud program as a whole, is to advance computer systems research. So far, use of these platforms as resulted in over 500 publications and theses that would not have been possible without them. The Phase III awards bring the agency’s 10-year investment into these important resources to $60 million and continues NSF’s legacy of supporting cutting-edge networking and systems research infrastructure.


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 2020 budget of $8.3 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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