The United States National Science Foundation (NSF) and three of the leading cloud providers partnered to make cloud resources more accessible to the area of scientific study and research. This agreement includes $9 million in cloud resources donated during the fiscal year 2017.
Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure donated $3 million each in cloud resources towards NSF’s Critical Techniques, Technologies, and Methodologies for Advancing Foundations and Applications of Big Data Sciences and Engineering (BIGDATA) program.
This agreement is in addition to the NSF’s recently-announced $30 million of new funding for research in data science and engineering, as part of that program.
“NSF’s participation with major cloud providers is an innovative approach to combining resources to better support data science research,” said Jim Kurose, assistant director of NSF for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE).
The BIGDATA program funds novel research in computer science, statistics, computational science. Its goal is to encourage and assist with projects that focus on large-scale experimentations and scalability studies. Data science, a growing field of interest both for government and private sector enterprises, utilizes massive amounts of available data and analyzes it to extract actionable data that organizations can put to use.
Domains benefitting from this program range from behavioral sciences and biology, engineering, and education. The types of data being studied are equally diverse, including social media and other online transactions, as well as machine-generated information that comes from IoT devices such as smart gadgets, industrial sensors, and smart city systems.
It’s in these internet-connected resources that the cloud becomes a particularly well-suited platform for data processing. Cloud platforms from companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are already optimized to work with data from these sources, and many universities and research organizations are utilizing the cloud today for data storage.
Projects awarded by the program will have access to funding as well as cloud computing credits.
Several projects have already received awards through the program. One recipient is Foundations of Responsible Data Management, a multi-university collaboration focused on developing conceptual frameworks and algorithmic techniques to support responsible data management. Eight of 21 BIGDATA award recipients will receive cloud credits made possible by the partnership between the NSF and cloud providers.
NSF’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate (CISE) sees the success of BIGDATA as a starting point for additional programs that bring the research community and cloud infrastructure together.