The committee seeks input from the community on the directions and needs for cyber infrastructure and provides a list of key issues in the body of the report. This appendix contains additional issues and questions on which the committee will be asking input. The committee seeks both responses to these questions and suggestions for other issues on which to request input.
• The trajectory and relevance of large-scale simulation’s impact on foundational advances in science and engineering.
• Scientific research grand challenges that will be substantially advanced by large-scale data analytics and data mining not currently possible in research infrastructures.
• Areas for research about cyberinfrastructure investments (e.g., emergent technologies and algorithms, balance between experimental and “production” systems, education and workforce development, community software) required to support sustained advances in U.S. science.
• Challenges and responses by research infrastructures at all scales (e.g., campus, regional, national; problem-focused or multipurpose) to the items above, identifying those that can be most positively affected by the National Science Foundation (NSF). These should encompass economic, cross-agency, and international considerations.
QUESTIONS FOR USERS OF ADVANCED COMPUTING INFRASTRUCTURE
1. Research needs/opportunities
a. What are some of the open problems in your field that require large-scale simulation to solve? Which might lead to fundamental or foundational advances? Why are these problems not being solved today?
b. What are some of the open problems in your field that require data-intensive computing, such as large-scale data analytics and data mining? Why are these problems not being solved today?
c. Are there plans or roadmaps that characterize future computing needs in your field?
d. What types of new workflows are emerging that require complex access pathways between data sets, computation, and storage?
2. Advanced computing capabilities, facilities, requirements
e. What forms of computing are used in your field? For example, How does your field make use of laptop/desktops, research group clusters, department or campus commodity cluster systems, mid- to large-scale, shared capacity systems such as XSEDE, leadership-class capability systems such as Blue Waters (NSF) or Mira (Department of Energy), or commercial cloud services such as Amazon EC2? How would you characterize the importance of access to each type—required, desirable, or unnecessary? How might these needs change in the future, and why?
f. How are data sets evolving in terms of variety and distribution? Do you access tens to hundreds of near-real-time data sets? Do you rely on a few large repositories?
g. With computer hardware and software evolving more rapidly than in the recent past, what impacts do you see for your field? For example, what role will new hardware such as accelerators (GPUs or Intel Xeon Phi), FPGAs, new memory systems, or new I/O systems play? Are there barriers to their adoption, such as challenges making necessary modifications to software?
h. What software does your field depend on? Who develops and maintains this code, and how is this work supported?
i. Is your field keeping up the technical skills needed to use new technical capabilities?
3. Challenges and suggestions
j. What are the biggest challenges that your field faces in using computation? Consider access to systems with sufficient capability and capacity; productivity of environments; algorithms; workforce; stability of software and hardware; and the ability to use systems efficiently, including parallelism and scalability.
k. What investments would have the greatest positive impact on your research field? For example, this could be more computer systems to increase access, different kinds of systems with a different balance of capability, support for community software, development of new algorithms, or a workforce with better training in computational science.
l. What other elements of national cyber infrastructure would significantly advance the pace of discovery or expand participation? Examples might include shared file systems or standard services and application program interfaces.