CyVerse Receives Third NSF Award for Enabling Data Science


CyVerse, a national cyberinfrastructure project led by the University of Arizona, has received a third five-year award from the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Biological Sciences, bringing total project funding to $115 million.

"We are thrilled to receive this third award, which reflects the success and impact that CyVerse has had across science," said CyVerse principal investigator Parker Antin, associate dean for research in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, associate vice president for research for the Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension, and a member of the BIO5 Institute. "The next few years will be incredibly exciting as we continue to enable data-driven discovery at the cutting edge of data science."

CyVerse is the NSF's leading project providing computational infrastructure for data science. Led by the UA and housed at the BIO5 Institute, the project works closely with Data7, the UA's data science institute. CyVerse has partner sites at the University of Texas at Austin's Texas Advanced Computing Center, which provides expertise and access to scalable computing platforms, and at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's DNA Learning Center, which delivers CyVerse's diverse computational training programs and workshops.

"CyVerse represents the leading edge of today's cyberinfrastructure technologies and is a pivotal component for creating positive outcomes for people and communities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution – the intersection of the physical, digital and biological worlds," said UA President Robert C. Robbins. "CyVerse is also one of the best examples of the collaborative, interdisciplinary projects that have created the UA's strength as a research university, and I am delighted to see this NSF-supported project continue to lead the way in the field of data science."

CyVerse provides a comprehensive platform for researchers to collaboratively manage their data and computations and magnify the impact of their research through sharing with their research communities. Users can integrate their own software tool sets, publish data sets, workflows, and technologies, and access a plethora of previously published, easy-to-use data tools. CyVerse enables users to readily utilize large computational platforms such as NSF XSEDE and commercial clouds as their computational needs grow.

"Data scientists are developing a steady stream of new and productive machine learning-based analysis tools," said Nirav Merchant, co-principal investigator of CyVerse and director of Data7. "These tools require robust data management for training models, scalable computing pipelines for analysis, a fundamental understanding and training in statistical and technical computing, as well as resources and services that are already in CyVerse's wheelhouse. With its mature data and cloud platforms, CyVerse is well positioned to bring these comprehensive capabilities to the life sciences community."

The new award – $15 million over five years – will provide NSF funding through 2023, enabling new opportunities for CyVerse to grow, foster new research and technology collaborations, and continue enhancing its services for the nation's data science communities.

CyVerse was launched in 2008 to create computational infrastructure – not only hardware and software, but also the crucial human resources to support and train scientists to use the developing infrastructure – for the plant sciences community. The diverse CyVerse user community includes more than 50,000 accounts for users who pursue projects within astronomy, geosciences, earth science and social science in addition to the life sciences.

"Advancements in computational technology have made it easier than ever to bring data to CyVerse," said project co-principal investigator Eric Lyons, an associate professor in the UA School of Plant Sciences and a member of the BIO5 Institute. "We're really excited to be on the cusp of integrating cloud technologies."

CyVerse is co-located with Data7 and the UA TRIPODS Institute in the new Bioscience Research Laboratories building. CyVerse is newly funded under the NSF's Directorate Division of Biological Infrastructure award number 1743442.

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