CREST-Cyber-ShARE Center of Excellence: A Center for the Sharing of Cyber-Resource to Advance Science and Education
Investigators: Ann Gates, Paulo Pinheiro da Silva, Leticia Velazquez, Craig E. Tweedie, Aaron Velasco
Funding Agency: US National Science Foundation HRD 0734825
Project Length: September 2007 – August 2012
Web sites with more information on this project: www.cybershare.utep.edu.
Intellectual Merit. The Cyber-ShARE Center will bring together experts in computer science, computational mathematics, education, earth science, and environmental science. This team will address the challenge of providing information to scientists and other users of cyber-infrastructure (CI) that allows them to make informed decisions about the resources that they retrieve and to have confidence in using results from CI-based applications. The Cyber-ShARE team will conduct innovative research to facilitate the development of CI-based applications and increase their use by scientists by enhancing CI results with provenance information, trust recommendations, and uncertainty levels (areas that are recognized as essential for the success of CI); by creating scientist-centered tools and artifacts; and by contributing CI resources to appropriate CI portals. In addition, the synergistic and multi-disciplinary subprojects will advance knowledge in i) provenance to capture knowledge about uncertainty and trust using results from discipline experts; ii) the physical properties of the Earth by studying CI-based techniques and approaches for integrating data with varying accuracy and sensitivity; iii) optimization of data streams and sensor arrays in ecological and environmental networks by targeting improved characterization of environmental phenomenon and processes. Many of the Center researchers have been involved in national CI efforts, and they will work with an educator who has expertise in technology and science education to create unique and effective CI-based teaching components.
Synergy. The combination of CI and human resources, i.e., scientists, educators, and students, underpins the collaborative and synergistically beneficial environment that will be established in Cyber-ShARE. CI and its mobilizing effect on sharing knowledge, methods, techniques, and approaches will be central to Cyber-ShARE’s mission of creating a cooperative environment for interdisciplinary research. A common thread through the subprojects is the use of provenance for encoding trust and uncertainty. The subprojects will receive support from the Center and make contributions to the Center as the team meets the following Center Goals: (1) develop an approach based on provenance, trust and uncertainty computation to inspire confidence in results obtained with CI; (2) create a CI-enabled synergistic environment to support advances in environmental and earth science; (3) train and educate the next-generation scientist who can use CI-based software services and middleware and tools, and who embraces multi-disciplinary approaches for advancing science, mathematics, and technology; and (4) contribute CI resources to appropriate portals in the discipline areas that are supported by the Center.
Project Activities. In addition to the research activities and the tool, ontology, workflow, and software services development, the Center will engage in the following activities: annual workshops aimed at educating undergraduate and graduate students and faculty, including members of underrespresented groups from outside UTEP; development of K-16 educational models geared for educating the next-generation CI scientist and tied to existing outreach efforts in the Colleges of Education, Engineering, and Science; a Cyber-ShARE Visiting Researcher program for sponsoring faculty and advanced students from underrepresented groups from outside UTEP to work with researchers at the Center for a week; a Distinguished Lecture series that invites 4 scientists per year who are involved in cutting edge research in science and CI; Cyber-ShARE Research Scholar recognition for students involved in research; a Cyber-ShARE Research Experiences for Undergraduates program that involves students in research using the Affinity Research Group model that uses focused activities for developing students’ technical, professional, communication, and research skills.
Broader Impacts. The Cyber-ShARE Center will develop CI resources, such as software services, ontologies, and workflows, that will have far-reaching implications for other projects under development (NSF-funded projects such as EarthScope and NEON, both of which aim to collect multivariate data over large spatial areas, and GEON and CEON). The multi-disciplinary expertise supported by the Center will result in innovative research, teaching components, curriculum, and tools that will build capacity in a computational science doctoral program as well as programs at all educational levels. By offering research experiences to students from a variety of backgrounds, providing workshops, and supporting a Distinguished Lecture Series, the Center will contribute to the development of a workforce with CI proficiency. The Center will leverage existing education and outreach efforts, and its activities will involve researchers from underrepresented groups outside of UTEP, extending the impact the Center.