Office of Cyberinfrastructure

To coordinate and support the acquisition, development and provision of state-of-the-art cyberinfrastructure resources, tools and services essential to the conduct of frontier 21st century science and engineering research and education.

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

1) The OptIPuter: Essentially, the OptIPuter is a "virtual" parallel computer in which the individual "processors" are widely distributed clusters; the "backplane" is provided by IP delivered over multiple dedicated lambdas (each 1-10 Gbps); and, the "mass storage systems" are large distributed scientific data repositories, fed by scientific instruments as OptIPuter peripheral devices, operated in near real-time.

Furthermore, collaboration will be a defining OptIPuter characteristic; goals include implementing a next-generation Access Grid with optical multicast, enabling tiled stereo HDTV screens of reality-matching visual resolution.

The OptIPuter is an embodiment of the vision of the "hollowing out of the computer" prophesized in the mid-1990s.

The old "computer-in-a-box" is being blown up and scattered across the Net.

The OptIPuter's fundamental inventions include software and middleware abstractions to deliver unique capabilities in a lambda-rich world, a world in which endpoint-delivered bandwidth is greater than individual computers can saturate.

The OptIPuter project explores a new architecture for the distributed information infrastructure (which NSF terms infrastructure) required by a number of this decade's science and engineering shared facilities.

The project is driven by a close collaboration with leaders of two of these community systems, NSF's EarthScope and NIH's Biomedical Imaging Research Network (BIRN) - both of which are beginning to produce an accelerating flood of data which will in stored in distributed federated data repositories.

One characteristic blocking such science is that the individual data objects (a 3D brain image or a terrain dataset) are large (Gigabytes) compared to what can be interactively manipulated or visualized over today's networks.

What these scientists require are ultra-high-speed predictable "clear-channel" networks linking PC clusters, storage and visualization systems, enabling collaborating scientists to explore interactively massive amounts of previously uncorrelated data.

An important opportunity exists over the next few years to develop a radical new architecture for this needed scientific infostructure.

2) Engaging People in Cyberinfrastructure (EPIC): TeacherTECH program reached 540 K-12 educators from February 2005 to December 2005 through monthly and summer workshops in science, technology, engineering and math.

These educator participants represented all of San Diego County, from urban to rural, from the tip of San Diego County all the way to the border with Mexico.

Seventy educators were reached last year.

Workshops include TeacherTECH Technology Tools workshops, TeacherTECH Advanced Technology Tools workshops, TeacherTECH Science Series and a TeacherTECH Math Series.

Many of the TeacherTECH Science Series workshop presentations are archived on our TeacherTECH site ( for viewing by teachers across the nation.

Ten thousand people have visited the new TeacherTECH website since its inception in May 2005.

The site includes standards-based curriculum submitted by TeacherTECH participants, science lectures, scientific visualizations, notes, resources and much more.

Our community partners and educators alike have praised our site.

3) Tornadogenesis within a simulated supercell storm: Using the Advanced Regional Prediction System model and supercomputing facilities a realistic supercell storm is simulated and successfully reproduced vorticity and other features of the most-intense tornado ever simulated.

The use of a uniform resolution grid large enough to contain the entire parent storm is a first, and eliminates the uncertainties of artificial human control associated with nested grid simulations or simulations using horizontally stretched grids.

The peak wind speed, reaching 120 meters per second, places the tornado within the F5 intensity scale of Fujita.

Atmospheric data from this simulationwill be used to develop algorithms for a new system of cell-phone tower based Doppler radar, called CASA (Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere), projected to reduce tornado false-alarm forecasts from the current 75 percent to 25 percent.

4) The Pacific Rim Application and Grid Middleware Assembly (PRAGMA): An intensive international effort involving researcher from more than ten institutions to improve grid-based application, collaboration, discourse and exchange of scientific personnel among Pacific Rim institutions.

It builds on an initial series of workshops that focused on assessing the state of grid-based infrastructure, evaluated a collection of scientific applications and provided a recurring venue to nurture sustainable collaborations across the Pacific Rim.

The original award provided funds to host the first workshop and allow both computing infrastructure specialists and applications scientists to attend follow on workshops.

This ongoing effort created the initial impetus to move forward in both building long long-term international collaborations and creating a venue for applications scientists to effectively understand and use grid-based systems.

5) Keeping Condor Flight Worthy: This proposal outlines an effort to sustain the Condor High Throughput Computing Software (Condor) by the Condor Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW).

The activities proposed are categorized into four areas of work: Support, Release, Enhance, and Use.

"Support" activities aid users with installation, configuration, and usage through ticket-tracked email.

Support also includes outreach work in the scientific computing community.

This outreach work includes hosting an annual international Condor workshop, participating in online forums dedicated to Condor and distributed computing, writing articles and book chapters on using Condor, and delivering invited tutorials at workshops and conferences.

"Support" functions serve mainly to deliver new versions of the Condor software.

Support also includes maintenance - ongoing bug fixing, support for new operating system releases and new versions of dependent software packages, and updates to documentation.

"Enhance" activities will generate basic improvements to the Condor software, such as enhancements in scalability and reliability, new capabilities on Win32, and the incorporation of recent advances in distributed computing technology.

"Use" activities leverages the Grid Laboratory of Wisconsin (GLOW) project.

GLOW is a multi disciplinary team of researchers across the University of Wisconsin campus that develops, implements, tests and deploys grid-enabled capabilities.

Agency - National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation is an independent Federal agency created to promote the progress of science, to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare and to secure the national defense. The NSF annually funds approximately 20 percent of basic, Federally-supported college and university research.

Program Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2006, 130 proposals were received and 42 awards made. In fiscal year 2007, 307 proposals were received and 70 awards were made. In fiscal year 2008, approximately 320 proposals are expected to be received 71 awards made.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Funds may be used to pay costs of conducting research, product development, resources, tools and services, as salaries and wages, equipment and supplies, travel, publication costs, other direct costs, and indirect costs.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Public and private colleges and universities; Non-profit, non-academic organizations; For-profit organizations; State and Local Governments; and unaffiliated scientists under special circumstances.

See the Grant Proposal Guide for a full description of eligibility requirements.

Beneficiary Eligibility

See the Grant Proposal Guide, Section I.E. for a full description of eligibility requirements.


The proposal must be signed electronically by an official authorized to commit the institution or organization in business and financial affairs and who can commit the organization to certain proposal certifications. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular Nos. A-21 for educational institutions and A-122 for nonprofit organizations. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

None required, except in specific cases, but preliminary discussions with relevant National Science Foundation program officers, by telephone or mail, are encouraged.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

Proposals being submitted to the Office of Cyberinfrastructure should follow the general instructions and guidelines in the "Grant Proposal Guide." All proposals are acknowledged. This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-110 for nonprofit organizations. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102.

Award Procedures

NSF staff members review and evaluate all proposals, with the advice and assistance of scientists and engineers who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal, of prospective users of research results when appropriate, and of specialists in other Federal agencies.


Many NSF programs accept proposals at any time. Other programs, however, establish due dates for submission of proposals. NSF utilizes Target Dates, Deadline Dates, and Submission Windows. Consult the Grant Proposal Guide, Section I.F. for a further description of these types of due dates.


National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended, Public Law 107-368, 42 U.S.C. 1861 et seq.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately six months or less, except in special instances.


The Principal Investigator may request, in writing, that the National Science Foundation reconsider its action in declining any proposal, renewal, or continuing grant proposal.


Proposals for renewal of NSF grants compete with all other pending proposals.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

The Grant Proposal Guide (GPG, Chapter II) and the Grant Policy Manual (Sec. 330) provide information on the general NSF policy on cost-sharing.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Normally 6 months to 3 years; occasionally longer.

Post Assistance Requirements


For multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the PI must submit an annual progress report to the cognizant program officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period.

Within 90 days after the expiration of a grant, the PI is required to submit final project report.

Quarterly Cash Transaction Report are required.

Other reporting requirements may be imposed via the grant instrument.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audit of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


Grantees are expected to maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for the general purpose for which each grant was made. Records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and for 3 years thereafter.

Financial Information

Account Identification



Obligations: (Grants) FY 07 $182,420,000; FY 08 est $185,330,000; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$10,000 to $20,000,000; $339,956.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

48 CFR Chapter 25: 45 CFR Chapter VI; NSF Guide to Programs, fiscal year 2004, NSF 04-009 (; and "Grant Proposal Guide," ( NSF World Wide Web site URL:

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Office of the Director, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230. Telephone: (703) 292-8970.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The National Science Board approved revised criteria for evaluating proposals at its meeting on March 28, 1997 (NSB 97-72). All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of the two merit review criteria. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities. On July 8, 2002, the NSF Director issued Important Notice 127, Implementation of new Grant Proposal Guide Requirements Related to the Broader Impacts Criterion. This Important Notice reinforces the importance of addressing both criteria in the preparation and review of all proposals submitted to NSF. NSF continues to strengthen its internal processes to ensure that both of the merit review criteria are addressed when making funding decisions. In an effort to increase compliance with these requirements, the January 2002 issuance of the GPG incorporated revised proposal preparation guidelines relating to the development of the Project Summary and Project Description. Chapter II of the GPG specifies that Principal Investigators (PIs) must address both merit review criteria in separate statements within the one-page Project Summary. This chapter also reiterates that broader impacts resulting from the proposed project must be addressed in the Project Description and described as an integral part of the narrative. Effective October 1, 2002, NSF will return without review proposals that do not separately address both merit review criteria within the Project Summary. It is believed that these changes to NSF proposal preparation and processing guidelines will more clearly articulate the importance of broader impacts to NSF-funded projects. The two National Science Board approved merit review criteria are listed below (see the Grant Proposal Guide Chapter III.A for further information). The criteria include considerations that help define them. These considerations are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. While proposers must address both merit review criteria, reviewers will be asked to address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal being considered and for which he/she is qualified to make judgments. What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity? How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of the prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources? What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity? How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society NSF staff will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions: Integration of Research and Education. One of the principal strategies in support of NSF's goals is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the excitement of discovery andenrich research through the diversity of learning perspectives. Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities. Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens -- women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities -- is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports.

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