Published on March 3, 2014
November 17, 2013 CASC Sustainability Workshop, Panel 3: Models, challenges and opportunities. Administrative costs? Resources in greatest need? John Towns PI and Project Director, XSEDE Director, Collaborative eScience Programs, NCSA firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is this guy? • John Towns – PI and Project Director of XSEDE – Director, Collaborative eScience Program Office at NCSA – Co-Founder, Illinois Campus Cluster Program • Background – just a mid-western boy from Missouri • I don’t see a lot of folks from Missouri in the circles I am in – failed physicist • general relativity – failed computational scientist • numerical simulation of black hole spacetimes – failed networked applications guy • NLANR-DAST: National Laboratory for Applied Network ResearchDistributed Applications Support Team – budding social engineer • Wearing my XSEDE hat for this discussion 2
What keeps me up at night? - #1 Articulating the value of XSEDE to stakeholders • Stakeholders – funding agency: NSF – community we support: researchers, scholars and engineers – our partners: Service Providers, other infrastructure providers, collaborators in technology development,… – administration at our respective institutions – ourselves: XSEDE staff • Requires clear metrics of success – How do you clearly and succinctly relate science impact when you don’t do any science? – How do you clearly and succinctly relate societal impact to “Joe Six-Pack?” 3
What keeps me up at night? - #2 How do we successfully realize our mission? • Mission (under revision): Accelerating scientific discovery by enhancing the productivity of researchers, engineers, and scholars by developing, promoting and sustaining the XSEDE environment of advanced digital services. • How do we scale across new communities without imploding? – How do we sustain that scaling? • How do we scale the environment without imploding? – How do we sustain that ever-more complex ecosystem? 4
What keeps me up at night? - #3 Sustainability of funding (how apropos) • XSEDE in year 3 of 5 year project – Can we secure an additional 5 years of funding? • How do we sustain after 10 years? – Can we avoid disruptive nature of re-compete while still deriving best value? – Will NSF even continue to fund such an activity? • Is NSF definition of “sustainable” that they no longer fund it? 5
What keeps me up at night? - #4 Sustainability of Leadership • Where are the up-and-coming leaders in this space? • We are missing programs that develop these people – not like research faculty • faculty have grad student, postdocs, research scientists • they go on to become next gen research faculty – Center directors, facility mangers, large scale project leads do not have these • informally, leaders mentor opportunistically identified nascent leaders • Need programs and reward structures – still a cottage industry – need career paths 6
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