August 2005
The Coming Era of Low Power, High-Performance Computing — Trends, Promises, and Challenges
Conference Report
Fran Berman, SDSC
Ruzena Bajcsy, UC Berkeley


At first blush, the technical issues involved with designing, implementing, and deploying Cyberinfrastructure seem to present the greatest challenges. Integrating diverse resources to deliver aggregate performance, engineering the system to provide both usability and reliability, developing and building adequate user environments to monitor and debug complex applications enabled by Cyberinfrastructure, ensuring the security of Cyberinfrastructure resources, etc. are all immensely difficult technical challenges and all are more or less still works-in-progress.

After ten years of experience since the I-Way Grid experiment at SC’95, and many more years of experience with team-oriented distributed projects and experiences such as the Grand Challenge program from the 1980s, NSF’s large-scale ITR projects, TeraGrid, etc. it is clear that some of the most challenging problems in designing, developing, deploying, and using Cyberinfrastructure arise from the social dynamics of making large-scale, coordinated projects and infrastructure work. From an increasingly substantive experience base with such projects, it is clear that the cultural, organizational, and policy dynamics, as well as the social impact of Cyberinfrastructure will be critical to its success.

The expansion of the focus on social scientists as end users of Cyberinfrastructure to critical designers and process builders of Cyberinfrastructure motivated the organization of the NSF SBE-CISE Workshop on Cyberinfrastructure and the Social Sciences1 in March at Airlie House in Warrenton, Virginia. Targeted to a broad spectrum of decision makers and innovative thinkers in the Social Sciences and Computer Sciences, and organized by a multi-disciplinary team of SBE and CISE researchers including a Political Scientist (Henry Brady, UC Berkeley), an Economist (John Haltiwanger, University of Maryland), and two Computer Scientists (Ruzena Bajcsy from UC Berkeley and Fran Berman from SDSC and UC San Diego), the workshop strived to provide substantive, useful and usable feedback to NSF on programs and activities for which the SBE and CISE communities could partner together to build, deploy, and use Cyberinfrastructure. The Airlie workshop focused on two goals:

  1. To develop a Final Report that lays out a forward path of Cyberinfrastructure research, experimentation, and infrastructure for the SBE and CISE community and provide a framework for projects and efforts in this integrated area.
  2. To provide a venue for community building within the SBE and CISE communities, and in particular, a venue for a multi-disciplinary synergistic community that leverages the perspectives and research of both SBE and CISE constituencies.

Pages: 1 2 3

Reference this article
Berman, F. and Bajcsy, R. "Cyberinfrastructure and the Social Sciences," CTWatch Quarterly, Volume 1, Number 3, August 2005. http://www.ctwatch.org/quarterly/articles/2005/08/cyberinfrastructure-and-the-social-sciences/

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