Chemistry Meets Computer, Data and Networking Technologies
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced the first round of grants in “cyber-enabled chemistry,” a program developed by its chemistry division to explore how researchers and educators in that field can fully exploit the potential of cyberinfrastructure. The lead principal investigators for the four awards include two researchers in separate projects at the University of California, Berkeley, and one each at the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and The Pennsylvania State University. The awards represent a combined investment of about $10 million over a 5-year period, including co-funding from NSF’s former Division of Shared Cyberinfrastructure. “Cyberinfrastructure” is an umbrella term meant to encompass the vast webs of computer, data and networking technologies that have infiltrated every aspect of modern life, and that are now beginning to revolutionize science and engineering research. The goal of the cyber-enabled chemistry program — formally known as Chemistry Research Instrumentation and Facilities: Cyberinfrastructure and Research Facilities — is to ensure that chemists can take full advantage of that revolution. In particular, the program seeks to • foster new chemical research and education activities through the use of grid computing, community databases, remote access to instrumentation, electronic support for geographically-dispersed collaborations, and other Web- and grid-accessible services • help teams of researchers assemble distributed expertise and resources into integrated virtual laboratories • impact the day-to-day practice of chemistry though advances such as scientific portals, workflow management, computational modeling, and data and molecular visualization • access the expertise and resources that cyberinfrastructure provides to greatly broaden participation in the chemical sciences, and to create a truly inclusive national and international community.