NSF Leadership in Discovery and Innovation Sparks White House US Ignite Initiative
Expanded testbeds, research and competitions will spark new applications to improve healthcare delivery, advanced manufacturing, disaster response and address other societal needs
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that it will serve as the lead federal agency for a White House Initiative called US Ignite, which aims to realize the potential of fast, open, next-generation networks.
US Ignite will expand on investments in the NSF-funded Global Environment for Networking Innovation (GENI) project which lays the technical groundwork for this initiative.
"NSF is proud to be the lead agency in US Ignite," said Subra Suresh, director of the National Science Foundation. "NSF has a proven legacy in funding the fundamental research that leads to technological advancements that spur economic development. As a result, NSF is uniquely positioned to attract our country's best creative thinkers and researchers to build, test and explore the potential of next-generation networks."
Using GENI as the thread, US Ignite will stitch together high-speed broadband resources to create a testbed across universities and cities throughout the United States at a national scale. GENI is a fast, programmable "virtual laboratory" that enables university researchers to experiment on so-called future internets.
"We've laid the groundwork for this national testbed by enabling foundational research by more than 300 researchers and 60 universities across the country to develop and prototype GENI," said Farnam Jahanian, assistant director of NSF's Directorate for Computer Information Science and Engineering. "Now, NSF will encourage the next steps for research on GENI. Experiments at-scale will transform cybersecurity, network performance, and cloud computing research, and will jumpstart applications, which have the potential for profound societal and economic impacts."
NSF is using its funding mechanism, EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) to fund four new projects just announced:
"To address the breadth and diversity of private sector challenges, applications must be multi-disciplinary in nature," said Thomas M. Peterson, assistant director of NSF's Directorate for Engineering. "We have funded projects that use GENI to transform advanced manufacturing."
One advanced manufacturing project, led by George Adams at Purdue University, for instance, is developing an open innovation manufacturing network to devise new ways for customers to interact with suppliers. "This may someday transform the current supply chains into much more nimble, innovative, yet integrated systems--a recipe for greater efficiency and productivity--key ingredients to America's economic future," said Peterson.
To further attest to NSF's commitment to US Ignite, NSF has today reached out to its research and education communities in a Dear Colleague Letter, to encourage proposals for the development of novel applications that take advantage of advanced networks developed through GENI and have societal impact.
Finally, NSF has also announced an award to the Mozilla Foundation to host an open innovation challenge, called Mozilla Ignite. This challenge will invite designers, developers, university researchers, entrepreneurs and other visionaries across America to brainstorm and build next-generation applications in areas of national priority that take advantage of advanced networks. Mozilla Ignite begins with a brainstorming contest. The next phase of the challenge will focus on the deployment and experimentation of applications.
The US Ignite launch will take place at 9:00 a.m. on June 14 at the White House and will feature the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren; NSF Director Subra Suresh; and other prominent officials from government, industry and academia.
The program, which will be streamed live, may be viewed on the White House website.
A recording of the program may be accessed via the OSTP website.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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