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NSF Plans Possible $1B Computing Upgrade

The National Science Foundation (NSF) unveiled Monday an ambitious five-year upgrade of its computing infrastructure that may cost as much as $1 billion. Called the Cyberinfrastructure Initiative, the project is expected to begin in 2005 and will support the NSF's research and engineering efforts.

Gregory Andrews, division director for experimental and integrative activities at NSF, told the Digital Government Research Program meeting in Boston this week that the program's first step will be to add software and hardware to supplement the existing Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), which is focusing on grid computing.

In the NPACI vision, researchers collect data from experiments and digital libraries, analyze the data with models run on a computing grid, visualize and share those data over the Web, and publish the results for the scientific community in digital libraries.

NPACI is part of 30 other funded partners and 16 domestic and international affiliates who are pursuing three goals: capability computing, discovery environments, and computational literacy.

Andrews said that while a blue ribbon panel in February recommended $1 billion in funding for the Cyberinfrastructure Initiative, current budget restraints make it appear Congress is more likely to dispense $500 million in funding.