Software is an integral enabler of computation, experiment and theory and a primary modality for realizing the Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21) vision, as described in http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2010/nsf10015/nsf10015.jsp. Scientific discovery and innovation are advancing along fundamentally new pathways opened by development of increasingly sophisticated software. Software is also directly responsible for increased scientific productivity and significant enhancement of researchers' capabilities. In order to nurture, accelerate and sustain this critical mode of scientific progress, NSF has established the Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation (SI2) program, with the overarching goal of transforming innovations in research and education into sustained software resources that are an integral part of the cyberinfrastructure.
SI2 is a long-term investment focused on catalyzing new thinking, paradigms, and practices in developing and using software to understand natural, human, and engineered systems. SI2's intent is to foster a pervasive cyberinfrastructure to help researchers address problems of unprecedented scale, complexity, resolution, and accuracy by integrating computation, data, networking, observations and experiments in novel ways. NSF expects that its SI2 investment will result in robust, reliable, usable and sustainable software infrastructure that is critical to achieving the CIF21 vision and will transform science and engineering while contributing to the education of next generation researchers and creators of future cyberinfrastructure. Education at all levels will play an important role in integrating such a dynamic cyberinfrastructure into the fabric of how science and engineering is performed.
It is expected that SI2 will generate and nurture the interdisciplinary processes required to support the entire software lifecycle, and will successfully integrate software development and support with innovation and research. Furthermore, it will result in the development of sustainable software communities that transcend scientific and geographical boundaries. SI2 envisions vibrant partnerships among academia, government laboratories and industry, including international entities, for the development and stewardship of a sustainable software infrastructure that can enhance productivity and accelerate innovation in science and engineering. The goal of the SI2 program is to create a software ecosystem that includes all levels of the software stack and scales from individual or small groups of software innovators to large hubs of software excellence. The program addresses all aspects of cyberinfrastructure, from embedded sensor systems and instruments, to desktops and high-end data and computing systems, to aajor instruments and facilities. Furthermore, it recognizes that integrated education activities will play a key role in sustaining the cyberinfrastructure over time and in developing a workforce capable of fully realizing its potential in transforming science and engineering.
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