Skip to main content

IU leads new Midwest Research Computing and Data Consortium

A $1M grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation expands on efforts to create a community of Midwestern cyberinfrastructure professionals

Research and discovery Oct 24, 2022

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The National Science Foundation has awarded Indiana University $1 million to lead the Midwest Research Computing and Data Consortium (MW-RCD), a Midwestern hub of research computing and data infrastructure professionals.  

“The consortium aims to build a community among cyberinfrastructure professionals who share a strong regional identity,” said Winona Snapp-Childs, chief operating officer of the Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI) at IU and principal investigator (PI) on the project. “Our goal is to share information, solve problems, and advocate for important community-driven needs.” 

As a regional consortium, the MW-RCD aims to promote equality and to better serve smaller, less well-resourced institutions. It positively affects cyberinfrastructure professionals as well, through innovative networking strategies, a focus on broadening participation across diverse groups and institutions, creating resource documents on topics of interest, and fostering new collaborations.  

“Cyberinfrastructure professionals are critical partners in use-inspired basic research but can be scattered across academic institutions—sometimes in groups as small as one to two people,” said Beth Plale, executive director of PTI and a co-PI on the project. “Dr. Snapp-Childs and team are building a Midwest-focused community of cyberinfrastructure professionals.” 

MW-RCD will use a set of “programmatic accelerators,” which prioritize inclusiveness and broadening representation. These accelerators include a student shadow program, residencies, professional mentorship, and affinity groups.  

Additionally, the materials to be developed and disseminated will enable and empower research computing and data professionals to communicate more effectively with key stakeholders. The theme of MW-RCD efforts is that of regional stakeholders working together in a trusted setting can help each other and the field. 

MW-RCD will be led by a steering committee to include:  

  • Winona Snapp-Childs, Indiana University 
  • Beth Plale, Indiana University
  • Joshua Baller, University of Minnesota (Minnesota Supercomputer Institute)
  • Jane Combs, University of Cincinnati
  • Scott Hampton, University of Notre Dame
  • Lee Liming, University of Chicago
  • Brock Palen, University of Michigan
  • Todd Shechter, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Preston Smith, Purdue University
  • Karen Tomko, Ohio Supercomputer Center
  • James (Mike) Warfe, Case Western University 

Related content

About the Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University 

The Pervasive Technology Institute at IU is both engine and hub for use-inspired basic research and education in compute-and data-driven challenge areas. Drawing together teams of academic researchers, educators, and technical professionals, the projects shaped within its centers and labs go on to find immediate utility in science and engineering research and education in the state of Indiana and the nation. PTI was established in 1999 by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment. 

About University Information Technology Services 

University Information Technology Services is part of the Office of the Vice President for IT and Chief Information Officer for Indiana University. It provides services across all IU campuses to support the mission of Indiana University.  

More stories