Franklin & Marshall College continues to build state-of-the-art technology resources that significantly enhance the power and reach of faculty and student research. The National Science Foundation recently awarded the school a $400,000 Campus Cyberinfrastructure grant to assemble a campus computing cluster, supporting high-performance computing needs on campus.
This is the second such NSF grant – following one for $350,000 in 2015 – awarded to the College in support of technology infrastructure work by F&M’s Office of Information Technology Services. The new award builds upon the success of the previous NSF investment in F&M; such technology awards are highly competitive.
“This is a great achievement and will be transformative for F&M,” said Carrie Rampp, vice president and chief information officer. “It will assure that high-caliber scientific research at F&M remains strong. The top-tier research agenda of our faculty in numerous disciplines, which deeply involves student researchers, is the absolute reason we received this award.”
The project is directed by Rampp, and F&M professors Joshua Booth (computer science), Peter Fields (biology), Christina Weaver (mathematics) and Fronefield Crawford (physics). Chief architect for the project is Jason Brooks, F&M's lead for research computing.
Rampp said the College received the award because of its strong partnership with both Internet2 and Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER).
KINBER, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit, provides guidance and insight on building connectivity, she said. The award also opens the door to a new collaboration with the Open Science Grid as F&M contributes unused computing cycles to that national grid of shared resources. The College also can take advantage of the unused compute cycles of others when demand from its researchers exceed supply.
F&M’s goals for the project are to:
- Greatly expand and strengthen capacity for faculty to collaborate with internal and external partners and provide essential learning opportunities to students
- Expand capacity to meet growing needs for campus computing resources
- Better prepare F&M students, especially those who pursue careers in data-intensive fields, for postgraduate work and study
The project is expected to be complete in two years.