Current Challenges in Cyberinfrastructure Class Spring 2012

Current Challenges in Cyberinfrastructure 4974 and 6970, Spring 2012

Instructors: Professor Jim Myers

Meeting Times: Monday and Thursday mornings, 10:00 am - 11:50 am. CII 3116;

Office Hours: Before class or by appointment at CII 3129

phone: 276-2858

email: myersj4@

CSCI 4974, 6970


This course will explore the breadth of what is meant by cyberinfrastructure and examine the state of the art and open challenges. In addition to discussion of high-performance computing; data, analysis, and visualization; and virtual organizations, the course will touch on the nature of infrastructure, the revolutionary potential of cyberinfrastructure to enable research, education, and societal application, the concept of socio-technical solutions, and designs to provide end-to-end support of the scientific lifecycle. Intended to complement CS 6961 and CS 6962, the course will none-the-less have topics in common with them.

Topics for CCiCyberinfrastructure/ Foundations:

  • Introduction to Cyberinfrastructure
    • CI Definitions
  • CI as Infrastrucuture
  • CI as a socio-technical capability
  • CI Survey
    • Computing, Network, Data Resources
    • Community HPC Codes and Libraries
    • Distributed computing infrastructure: Grids, Clouds, and Webs
    • Data Management Infrastructure
    • Visualization
    • Workflow/Provenance
    • Virtual Organizations and Collaboration infrastructure
    • Cybersecurity
    • Cyberphysical Infrastructure
    • Active Decision Support Infrastructure
  • Competitiveness through CI
  • CI Deployment and Business Models / Sustainability
  • (Inter-)National, Domain, and Local Infrastructure
  • CI vs. CS Challenges


  • To enable an understanding of the meaning of the term Cyberinfrastructure and the current state of the art and open challenges
  • To provide an understanding of the potential for Cyberinfrastructure as a aresearch and competitiveness tool and of the design and implementation factors that influence how well cyberinfrastructure capabilities enable realization of that potential
  • To enable future Cyberinfrastructure Developers, Users, and Stakeholders to contruct/evaluate Cyberinfrastructure R&D, Deployment, and Maintenance arguments.
  • To provide an overview of cyberinfrastructure development and deployment best-practices

Draft Class Topics, Readings, and Assignments

Note: Dates are approximate and may change!

Jan. 23 - Class 1 Class Intro Slides.
Reading Assignment: The origins of Cyberinfrastructure: Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure: Report of the National Science Foundation Blue-Ribbon Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure (focus on Sections 1 and 2).

Jan 26 - No instructor - some class members will meet to discuss assignment 1 (find/review an existing CI project - see Class 1 slides for details)

Jan. 30 - Class 2 CI Definitions and Examples.
Reading Assignment: Understanding Infrastructure: Understanding Infrastructure: Dynamics, Tensions, and Design.

Feb. 2 - Class 3 "Grokking" CI as a Stakeholder, Provider, and User.
Assignment Due: Report on an existing CI project
Reading Assignment: CI Technology Trends Compute and Data Related Growth Rate Charts, and, for fun: Kurzweil's "Singularity"

Feb. 6 - Class 4 CI - A Story of Dueling Exponentials
Reading Assignment: Explore the DOE SciDAC projects

Feb. 9 - Class 5 Realizing HPC Performance
Assignment Due: Semester project Outline
Reading Assignment: NEES 2007 IT Vision

Feb. 13 - Class 6 Community Planning Example: Earthquake Engineering
Reading Assignment Anatomy of the Grid, Physiology of the Grid

Feb 16 - Class 7 Designing Cyberinfrastructure for Communities: Finding the Neck of the Hourglass
Assignment Due: Semester project Reference List
Reading Assignments: NIST Definition of Cloud Computing v15, MapReduce: A Major Step Backwards

Feb. 20 - No Class (Holiday)

Feb. 23 - Class 8 Guest Lecture TBD

Feb. 27 - Class 9 Clouds 101
Optional Reading Assignments: Cloud Computing and Grid Computing 360-Degree Compared, Magellan Report on Cloud Computing for Science

March 1 - Class 10 'Guest Lecture' - Kelly Gaither, TACC, SC'11 Presentation on Youtube

March 5 - Class 11 Presentations - 15 minutes each - motivation for your semester project.
Reading Assignment: The Office of Science Data Management Challenge - focus on the Science Drivers of part 1 and the review of challenges in part 2, skim discussion of funding and 2004 state of the art...

March 8 - Class 12 The Answer is 42 - Data 101
Reading Assignment: The Fourth Paradigm - Jim Gray article and one other - be prepared to comment on the article in class

March 12-16: RPI Spring Break

March 19 - Class 13 What are Intellectual Merit and Broader Impact? and Mapping Data Technologies to Research Paradigms (Data 102)
Reading Assignment: Towards Electronic Persistence Using ARK Identifiers, J. Kunze, Proceedings of the 3rd ECDL Workshop on Web Archives, August 2003, and, optionally [ Actional Resource Tags for Virtual Organizations]

March 22 - Class 14 Data Distribution, Curation, and Preservation
Assignment Due: Project Description (Scope and Activities)
Reading: Cyberinfrastructure Vision for 21rst Century Discovery

March 26 - Class 15 Visualization
Reading: NEXT-GENERATION Visualization Technologies: Enabling Discoveries at EXTREME Scale

March 29 - Class 16 Viz wrap-up and Project Management Interlude
Reading: Workshop on the Challenges of Scientific Workflow
I Think Therefore I Am Someone Else:...

April 2 - Class 17 Workflow and Provenance

April 5 - Class 18 Provenance and Workflow (same presentation)

April 9 - Class 19 Cybersecurity Challenges Guest Lecture - Von Welch, Deputy Director, Indiana University Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research), Additional class Cybersecurity Challenges Discussion Material
April 12 - Class 20 Virtual Organizations and Collaboration

April 16 - Class 21 Presentations of Project Scope and Activities

April 19 - Class 22 Cyberphysical Systems

April 23 - Class 23 Active Decision Support Systems

April 26 - Class 24 The CI Ecosystem

April 30 - Class 25 WBS, Management, Risk presentations and discussion
May 3 - Class 26 Competitive Advantage through CI
May 7 - Class 27 Review and final thoughts
Optional remote Guest Lecture @ 3PM: Kevin Maher and Julien Soriano, eBay: “Cybersecurity”, May 7 at 3:00 PM Eastern. Lecture is part of a Clemson project and access will be via Adobe Connect - ask me for direct connection details in class. We may also find a room to participate as a group.

May 7th: Assignment Due: Final proposal
May 11 - grades due

Reference Material/Readings

Academic Integrity

Student-teacher relationships are built on trust. For example, students must trust that teachers have made appropriate decisions about the structure and content of the courses they teach, and teachers must trust that the assignments that students turn in are their own. Acts, which violate this trust, undermine the educational process. The Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities defines various forms of Academic Dishonesty and you should make yourself familiar with these. In this class, all assignments that are turned in for a grade must represent the student’s own work. In cases where help was received, or teamwork was allowed, a notation on the assignment should indicate your collaboration. Submission of any assignment that is in violation of this policy will result in a penalty. If found in violation of the academic dishonesty policy, students may be subject to two types of penalties. The instructor administers an academic (grade) penalty, and the student may also enter the Institute judicial process and be subject to such additional sanctions as: warning, probation, suspension, expulsion, and alternative actions as defined in the current Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities. If you have any question concerning this policy before submitting an assignment, please ask for clarification.

Assessment Criteria

  • Via written assignments with specific percentage of grade allocation provided with each assignment
  • Via oral presentations with specific percentage of grade allocation provided
  • Via group projects and presentations
  • Via participation in class
  • Late submission policy: first time with valid reason – no penalty, otherwise 20% of score deducted each late day

Attendance Policy

Enrolled students may miss at most one class without permission of the instructor.

Course: Current Challenges in Cyberinfrastructure

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