Tuesday, August 16, 2011

NSF's Seidel: 'Software Is the Modern Language of Science'

HPC Wire (08/09/11) Jan Zverina

Software is the core technology behind a dramatic acceleration in all areas of science, and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the science community are faced with the challenge of building a cyberinfrastructure model that integrates advancing technologies, says NSF's Edward Seidel. NSF's Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) program, the successor to the TeraGrid project, is intended to be the most powerful cluster of advanced digital resources and services in the world. "I think XSEDE probably marks the beginning of a national architecture with the capability of actually putting some order into [multiple approaches to observation, experimentation, computation, and data analysis]," says Seidel. Technological innovations are creating a multilevel cybercrisis, including the problem of managing the exponentially increasing data volumes produced by various digital resources, according to Seidel. This flood of data offers opportunities for potentially powerful national and possibly global collaborations. "We need to be thinking about developing cyberinfrastructure, software engineering, and capabilities to mix and match components, as well as data sharing policies, that really enable scenarios such as coupled hurricane and storm surge prediction, as well as the human response to such events," Seidel says.