Implementation of NSF Software Vision
Questions about the NSF Software Vision can be sent to a program officer in the unit associated with a particular scientific, engineering, or educational theme; general queries about the SI2 program should be sent to SI2Queries@nsf.gov
CISE/ACI: Daniel S. Katz, email@example.com
BIO: Peter McCartney, firstname.lastname@example.org & Anne M. Maglia, email@example.com & Julie Dickerson, firstname.lastname@example.org
CISE/CCF, CNS & IIS: Sol Greenspan, email@example.com
EHR: John Cherniavsky, firstname.lastname@example.org
ENG: Sumanta Acharya, email@example.com & Eduardo Misawa, firstname.lastname@example.org
GEO: Barbara Ransom, email@example.com & Eva Zanzerkia, firstname.lastname@example.org
MPS: Jean Cottam Allen, email@example.com & Evelyn Goldfield, firstname.lastname@example.org
SBE: Cheryl Eavey, email@example.com
NSF's vision of a Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21) identifies advancing new computational infrastructure as a priority for driving innovation in science and engineering. Innovation occurs through advances in computing facilities, scientific instruments, software environments, advanced networks, data storage capabilities, and the critically important human capital and expertise. Software is thus an integral enabler of computation, experiment and theory and a central component of the new computational infrastructure. Scientific discovery and innovation are advancing along fundamentally new pathways opened by the development of increasingly sophisticated software. Software is also directly responsible for increased scientific productivity and significant enhancement of researchers' capabilities.
Implementing NSF's CIF21 Software Vision (NSF 12-113) is a Foundation-wide effort that includes multiple programs with the goal of nurturing, accelerating, and sustaining this critical mode of scientific progress. The collective goal of these programs is to transform innovations in research and education into sustained software resources that are an integral part of the cyberinfrastructure. This may involve long-term investments focused on catalyzing new thinking, paradigms, and practices in developing and using software to understand natural, human, and engineered systems. It is NSF's expectation that these investments will result in robust, reliable, usable and sustainable software infrastructure that is critical to the CIF21 vision and will transform science and engineering while contributing to the education of next generation researchers and creators of future cyberinfrastructure. Education at all levels will play an important role in integrating such a dynamic cyberinfrastructure into the fabric of how science and engineering is done.
The goal of the NSF's software programs is to create a software ecosystem that includes all levels of the software stack and scales from individual or small groups of software innovators to large hubs of software excellence. The programs address all aspects of cyberinfrastructure, from embedded sensor systems and instruments, to desktops and high-end data and computing systems, to major instruments and facilities. These programs will result in the development of sustainable software communities that transcend scientific and geographical boundaries. Furthermore, the program recognizes that integrated education activities will play a key role in sustaining the cyberinfrastructure over time and in developing a workforce capable of fully realizing its potential in transforming science and engineering.
Software investments will typically fall into one of three classes:
1. Software Elements target small groups that will create and deploy robust software elements for which there is a demonstrated need that will advance one or more significant areas of science and engineering.
2. Software Frameworks target larger, interdisciplinary teams organized around the development and application of elements of common software infrastructure aimed at solving common research problems. These awards will result in sustainable community software frameworks serving a diverse community.
3. Software Institutes focus on the establishment of long-term hubs of excellence in software infrastructure and technologies, including elements and frameworks, that will serve a research community of substantial size and disciplinary breadth.
NSF uses programs, program solicitations, and dear colleague letters to encourage the science, engineering, and education community to implement the software vision, including the following:
One of the cross-foundation programs is the Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation (SI2) program (http://www.nsf.gov/si2/), which is expected to generate and nurture the interdisciplinary processes required to support the entire software lifecycle, and will successfully integrate software development and support with innovation and research. SI2 envisions vibrant partnerships among academia, government laboratories and industry, including international entities, for the development and stewardship of a sustainable software infrastructure that can enhance productivity and accelerate innovation in science and engineering. SI2 projects should be conceived of and executed as part of the broad cyberinfrastructure context.
The SI2 program includes four classes of awards:
1. Scientific Software Elements (SSE): SSE awards are Software Elements. They target small groups that will create and deploy robust software elements for which there is a demonstrated need that will advance one or more significant areas of science and engineering.
2. Scientific Software Integration (SSI): SSI awards are Software Frameworks. They target larger, interdisciplinary teams organized around the development and application of common software infrastructure aimed at solving common research problems. SSI awards will result in sustainable community software frameworks serving a diverse community.
3. Scientific Software Innovation Institutes (S2I2): S2I2 awards are Software Institutes. They focus on the establishment of long-term hubs of excellence in software infrastructure and technologies that will serve a research community of substantial size and disciplinary breadth.
For a list of existing SSE, SSI, and S2I2 awards, see https://sites.google.com/site/softwarecyberinfrastructure/
4. Reuse: In addition, SI2 will co-fund projects from other programs that meet SI2 goals, particularly by encouraging reuse of software. The class of reuse awards is currently being developed.
Multidisciplinary projects at the SSE, SSI, and S2I2 levels should be submitted to the appropriate SI2 solicitation.
Current Program Solicitations associated with the SI2 program include:
Previous Program Solicitations associated with the SI2 program include:
- NSF 10-551: Solicitation for SSE and SSI proposals, due March 16, 2010
- NSF 11-539: Solicitation for SSE and SSI proposals, due April 19, 2011
- NSF 11-589: Solicitation for S2I2 conceptualization proposals, due September 16, 2011
- NSF 12-576: Solicitation for collaborative US/UK SSI proposals addressing grand challenges in computational chemistry, preliminary proposals due August 27, 2012, full proposals due September 27, 2012
- NSF 13-511: Solicitation for S2I2 conceptualization proposals, due Feb 4, 2013
In the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (ACI), projects at the Element, Framework, and Institute levels should be submitted to the SSE, SSI, or S2I2 categories, respectively, of SI2.
In other divisions of Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), proposals appropriate to the CISE Core and Cross-Cutting programs should be sent to those programs. Proposals about cyberinfrastructure to support a CISE-centered research community may be appropriate for the CISE Research Infrastructure (CRI) (NSF 11-536) program. Proposals that use computer science and software engineering concepts, tools, methods, processes, etc. in support of multiple science/engineering disciplines to achieve the goals of SI2 are appropriate for submission to SI2 if they otherwise meet the objectives of the SI2 program. CISE Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF), Computer and Network Systems (CNS), and Information & Intelligent Systems (IIS) divisions will participate in funding SSE and SSI proposals but not Institute Conceptualization proposals. It is recommended that PIs contact the listed program directors to guide their proposals to the most appropriate programs.
In Biological Sciences, projects at the Element level should be submitted to the Advances in Biological Informatics (ABI) program (NSF 12-567). Projects at the Framework and Institute levels should be submitted to the SSI and S2I2 categories, respectively, of SI2.
In Engineering, projects that focus on interdisciplinary research integrating computational methods, mathematical and statistical analysis, and/or high performance computing with engineering applications to advance discovery, design and operation of engineering problems should be submitted to the Computational and Data-enabled Science and Engineering Program (CDS&E) (PD 12-8084). Projects that focus on software advancement at the conceptualization and teaming level (S2I2) and at the frameworks level leading to open-access software for the engineering community (SSI) should be submitted to the respective elements of the SI2 program. More focused software development of a specific aspect may be considered for the SSE element of the SI2 program. In all cases, the engineering application and the open-access issues must be emphasized.
In Geosciences (earth science, oceanography, and atmospheric and geospace sciences), projects at the Element level should be submitted to the appropriate core program in the Directorate of Geosciences, with the exception of projects that fit the characteristics of the Geoinformatics Program in the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) (NSF 11-581), which should be submitted to that program, which holds a competition every other year on July 1. Projects that serve the Geoscience community at the Framework level should be submitted to the SSI category of SI2. For projects at the Institute level, PIs should engage in the EarthCube process (http://www.nsf.gov/geo/earthcube/).
In Mathematical and Physical Sciences, discipline-specific projects at the Element level should be submitted to the SSE component of the SI2 program if the intent of the proposed project is to develop software that will be used by a broad user base with realistic potential for use outside the discipline. Such proposals should demonstrate how that use will be realized and assessed. Projects whose primary intent is to advance a specific science project should be submitted through the Computational and Data-enabled Science and Engineering Program (CDS&E) (PD 12-8084). Projects at the Framework and Institute levels that address fundamental MPS research areas should be submitted to the SSI and S2I2 categories, respectively, of SI2.
For PIs who are thinking of submitting a software proposal that crosses disciplines, it is strongly recommended that they contact the Program Officers in the programs whose communities would benefit from the software being proposed, to seek guidance on disciplinary and programmatic priorities and to be sure that what is proposed will be well rooted in end-user needs and integrate or augment on-going investments in those disciplines. This will help to ensure that the proposals are as competitive as possible, that any redundancy of effort is minimized, and that the proposed effort leverages, as much as possible, previous NSF investments that serve the targeted communities.
The SI2 program is synergistic with the NSF programs and solicitations for computational and data-enabled science and engineering (CDS&E) (PD 12-8084). The main output of the SI2 program is sustainable software to support innovation in science and engineering.
Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21)
NSF Cyberinfrastructure components
EarthCube - to transform the conduct of research by supporting the development of community-guided cyberinfrastructure to integrate data and information for knowledge management across the Geosciences
DataWay - towards the development of integrated data management infrastructures across the sciences and engineering