ISE group earns NSF grant to offer advanced cyberinfrastructure training

By Ken Bikoff

A team of researchers from the Department of Intelligent Systems Engineering at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering has been awarded a grant worth nearly half a million dollars by the National Science Foundation to develop training techniques that will allow researchers to better use advanced cyberinfrastructure resources.

The project, “CyberTraining: CIC: CyberTraining for Students and Technologies from Generation Z,” will be led by Distinguished Professor and Chair of Intelligent Systems Engineering Geoffrey Fox, Professor of Intelligent Systems Engineering Martin Swany, and Adjunct Professor for Intelligent Systems Engineering Gregor von Laszewski, and it includes key contributions from Director of ISE Student Services and Curriculum Kelly Nelson. The aim is to use the recently created ISE course material at IU and invest it into open-source training modules that include areas such as cloud computing, big data applications and analytics, networking, high-performance computing, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and information visualization.

“This award will allow us to improve our core courses with some highlighted modules that can be used in outreach training activities,” Fox said. “The award is a vote of confidence which affirms that ISE curriculum benefits from starting afresh with today’s topics for today’s students.”

The project will rework the subsets of the curriculum into online, module formats that can reflect the needs of today’s savvy students by incorporating successful, open-source community building tools, such as GitHub. The project will primarily focus on developing content for Cyberinfrastructure Contributors (CIC) communities, and although the core approach will be online, one-week summer workshops also will be offered to introduce topics before students set out to complete the online modules.

The project will also offer research experiences for undergraduates, who will may be involved in the testing, integration, and expansion of curricula, and it will include specific outreach to underrepresented communities. It also will promote the progress of science and advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare, which serves the national interest.

“Our ISE curriculum was designed for the engineering of tomorrow, and this project will help create learning and sustainability opportunities for a wide range of groups,” said Raj Acharya, dean of SICE. “Our faculty continue to push the boundaries of what is possible to bring the very best tools of learning to students, and this grant shows the support our approach is receiving from the scientific community.”

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