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Ann Hill Duin, associate vice president and associate chief information officer, Office of Information Technology
Bernard Gulachek, senior director, Office of Strategy Management, OIT
As a result of innovative partnerships between the Office of Information Technology, collegiate units, and other Central units, outstanding technological support systems for administrative and academic needs have been developed to serve faculty, staff and students. Central and local IT support staffs maintain servers and desktop computers to ensure availability and security of information technology tools and resources. The University’s Digital Media Center, along with academic technology support staffs in local units, provides a variety of services to instructors and students using technology in teaching and learning. .
Dramatic advances in information technology make way for exciting new opportunities for research as well. New technologies allow projects to span disciplines and institutions, enabling researchers to seek new answers to critical questions in ways that were impossible just years or even months ago. Indeed, research computing is a top priority for leading universities and research institutions around the globe; furthermore, cyberinfrastructure is seen as a key factor in securing research funding and attracting and retaining top faculty and students.
The expanded research agendas in many disciplines are now outpacing the computing resources available to individual researchers, departments, or even institutions. Enabling this research requires large-scale investments in high-performance computing, storage and networking, as well as the development of cyberinfrastructure to integrate these components into a meaningful whole.
Cyberinfrastructure includes the instruments, sensors, high performance computational systems, massive storage systems, data resources, and visualization facilities, tied together by high speed networks and made to work together by advanced software to accomplish goals that would not be possible by any single information technology system. It also includes the people, processes, training, security, policies, and capabilities to sustain the systems and networks over time. Implementing cyberinfrastructure requires a high level of coordination and collaboration between researchers and an information technology workforce with expertise in scientific computing.
In support of the University’s goal to become one of the top three public research universities in the world, a strategic alliance to support research cyberinfrastructure was developed in Fall 2007 with the vision of facilitating access to high-end, high quality, efficient and effective research computing systems and services, enhancing interdisciplinary research and allowing researchers to explore radically new concepts, approaches, and tools. Initial sponsors of the University’s Research Cyberinfrastructure Alliance (RCA) included the University’s Office of Information Technology (OIT), the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), the University Libraries. Among the founding members were individuals from college-level research computing units, the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute, and key leaders from OIT.
As an alliance, the RCA brings key groups together to coordinate and align distributed strategic research cyberinfrastructure and related services to benefit researchers. The alliance enables researchers to work together with technologists and professionals with expertise in wide-ranging areas to plan, coordinate and conduct research projects. By leveraging resources in this manner, we improve efficiency and effectiveness, and also guide future investments in the best manner possible for the entire University community.
The RCA functions as a virtual organization of research support and information technology service providers, working to identify a portfolio of research technology resources and support services throughout the University. A key next step for the RCA is to develop strategies that enable researchers to easily find and engage with relevant research computing resources and support.
The primary role for the Emerging Leaders will be to work with key stakeholders (faculty, staff, students, Collegiate IT Directors, OIT staff and the RCA group) to develop a strategic approach to cyberinfrastructure that leverages partnerships across the University. We have identified the following goals for the project:
As the RCA, we look forward to partnering with the PEL group to refine these goals and identify additional strategic goals for the project.
At the end of the project, the following outcomes will be among the indicators of success:
Identify project participants, hold initial team meeting. Develop project roadmap with RCA members
Review findings with RCA members and solicit feedback
Phase II. Work with RCA subcommittees to recommend actions and projects
Imaging Center, College of Biological Sciences
Applications Development Manager
OIT-Carlson School of Management
Senior Associate Director for Enrollment
UMM Admissions and Enrollment
Katherine Himes, PhD
Assistant to the Provost
Senior VP for Academic Affairs and Provost