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NSF CISE Research Infrastructure: Mid-Scale Infrastructure (CRI: NSF Cloud)

Posted on Oct 28, 2013 by Doug Howell
Tags: Applied Research, End-to-End Research Support, Federal Government, Frontpage News, letters of collaboration, Research Funding Support, Research Incubator, Research Support

The National Science Foundation recently announced the availability of funding for its CISE Research Infrastructure: Mid-Scale Infrastructure (CRI: NSF Cloud). This solicitation builds upon NSF’s focus on campus-level network service improvements to support data transfer and movement and envisions a new set of cloud infrastructure services to support future programs. This solicitation will likely fund two major cooperative agreements within a $20,000,000 funding pool with the goal of creating infrastructures to enable experimental development of cloud architectures and pursuit of novel, architecturally-enabled applications to promote cloud computing.

Additional information regarding this year’s solicitation can be found here:

This solicitation refers to Phase I of NSF’s larger program. The initial phase is expected to fund four-year projects focusing on infrastructure design, ramp-up activities, and demonstration of readiness for eventual deployment. Phase I proposals are expected to leverage existing cyberinfrastructure investments and accommodate the rapid growth in cloud computing capabilities by supporting a broad scope of innovative applications and facilitating interaction between academic institutions and industry, including cloud computing researchers, the high-performance computing community, and cyber-physical system researchers. The initiative’s eventual goal is to enable exploration of research sharing in clustered computing; virtualization with software-defined networking technologies; enhancing quality of service guarantees; and fostering interplay among applications, cloud computing architecture, and the physical environment across a spectrum of configurations.

All proposals must include an architecture and deployment plan supporting multiple short- and long-term experiments of sufficient scope to allow evaluation of different cloud computing configurations, with the volume of concurrent experiments based on available computing resources, rather than the architecture or NSF Cloud organizational structure. They should also support experiments addressing communications computation, and data resources spanning real-time and safety-critical systems, with projects focusing both on novel cloud computing architectures and novel applications of cloud computing (such as novel virtualization mechanisms beyond industry standards including OpenStack, or experiments combining cloud computing with high-performance computing applications and cyber-physical systems). In addition, projects are expected to engage relevant research and education communities as developers and users, while including plans to address broader participation and development of persistent infrastructures. Proposals are encouraged to leverage existing NSF investments (such as GENI and CC-NIE), as well as commercial or open source software in order to reduce cost, risk, and time of deployment, and enhancing eventual project impact in broader society.

Integration with Internet2’s Innovation Platform and NET+ Program

The goals of this initiative intersect with Internet2’s national Innovation Platform, which supports deeply programmable networks through software-defined networking (SDN), deployment of Science DMZs on campus networks to facilitate data-intensive science, rapid adoption of 100G in campus network architectures to encourage applications innovation, and integrated end-to-end capabilities verified through performance diagnostic monitoring. It also could partner effectively with Internet2’s NET+ program, which offers customized cloud services from third party vendors using the Internet2 Network, and federated trust services with InCommon.

Successful CRI: NSF Cloud proposals from Internet2 member campuses will be able to contribute to a nationwide R&E platform for innovation by creating open and unconstrained bandwidth through campus, regional, and national networks; rearchitecting campus networks to support distributed research collaborations and cloud clusters; and deploying software-defined networking and OpenFlow capabilities to allow SDN-enabled application deployment.

Working Together

Internet2 staff are ready to help you as you prepare your proposals by providing technical consultation regarding network architecture, collaboration opportunities for innovative infrastructure solutions that build on the Innovation Platform and through Letters of Support. Because we anticipate accommodating many requests for this solicitation, we would encourage you to contact us by November 22nd to begin infrastructure related consultations. Please contact with these infrastructure inquiries.

For Letters of Support, we can accommodate you best if you provide the following with your request: the PI’s name, address, and title; the proposal’s title and designation of proposal category; a rough draft of the proposal narrative and/or complete draft of the project summary; and a list of Internet2 services or infrastructure the project would use. We encourage you to submit your request by December 10, in order to ensure the strongest and most detailed support we can provide. Requests submitted after that may include far less detail than others. We cannot guarantee letters for requests submitted on or after December 16. If you have any questions regarding Letters of Support, please contact Nili Tannenbaum at

As always, Internet2 will hold your proposals in the strictest confidence and will commit to work equally with all Internet2 members.