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Cyber Indicators are HIGH

Don’t look now: Your campus cyber infrastructure is burgeoning

Krishna P. C. MadhavanCyber infrastructure has taken hold. If you’re thinking cyber infrastructure isn’t really that big at your institution, think again. Herewith, Krishna P. C. Madhavan interprets all the cyber signals our campuses are sending us. Madhavan is a research scientist with the Rosen Center for Advanced Computing at Purdue University (IN). His work centers on the new and emerging area of cyber infrastructureenabled science education. He is the Education Technology director for the NSF-funded Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN), chair for the Supercomputing 2006 Education Program, and coleader of the Zecosystem effort (all at Purdue).

EDITOR’S NOTE: At Campus Technology 2006, Madhavan will moderate the panel, “Cyber Infrastructure for ‘Immersion’ Learning Environments.”

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Middleware is everywhere.

  • If you have a cell phone, you are a serious middleware user.

Over the next 10 years, millions—or perhaps billions—of our tax dollars will go toward ushering in the petascale computational era.

  • The National Science Foundation ( and the federal government are working toward the next major leap in the way computation affects big science, which affects research on campus.

The gaming boxes that students now use for entertainment have more computational power than the supercomputers of yesteryear.

  • Increased computational power appearing in ever-shrinking form factors is driving science and learning forward. Remember Moore’s Law [which states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles about every two years].

The ‘big data’ orchestra is in full swing (though sometimes not in complete harmony).

  • Research at colleges and universities increasingly relies on large datasets to solve problems and provide insights into scientific phenomena.

Nationally funded science gateways to specific cross-disciplinary domains are supporting increasingly large user databases.

  • These gateways provide specific science content, simulation tools, and data within a single environment.
  • They fuel the next generation of learning and discovery.

Top-notch models of central IT support for research and learning have emerged at US universities.

  • Centralized consolidation of IT services (such as storage, network, computational power, software support, and security) is the new paradigm.
  • Such central services allow researchers and educators to focus on their institution’s dual mission of research and education.

Time and space are now referred to as ‘anytime, anywhere.’

  • The maturity of IT services has led to mobility, social networking, and the ability to contribute to one’s field more easily than ever.

‘Service-oriented’ cyber infrastructure for education and research will provide the layer of integration for bridging discovery and learning.

  • Integration of cyber services—hardware, middleware, or applications— provides a competitive edge in science and education.

Simulation has emerged as the third leg in the stool of science and education.

  • Theory and experiment are the paradigms of the past century.

Cyber infrastructure truly affects a substantial part of everyday living.

  • More than we realize, cyber infrastructure is all around us.
  • In the end, it’s all about relevance to daily life.
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