COLUMBIA, Mo. – To help solve the world’s grand challenges, researchers often rely on powerful computer systems and people that provide advanced capabilities to store, transfer and process large amounts of data. However, many colleges and universities throughout the Midwest need help building the teams to support these computer systems that support their research and discoveries.
Now, the National Science Foundation has awarded a $1.4 million grant to a team of experts led by Timothy Middelkoop, assistant teaching professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering in the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering. The researchers said the grant will fill an emerging need by providing training and resources in high-performance computer systems.
“There is a critical need for building cyberinfrastructure across the nation, including the Midwest region,” said Middelkoop, who also serves as the director of Research Computing Support Services in the Division of Information Technology at MU. “It is our job as cyberinfrastructure professionals to facilitate research and work with researchers as a team to identify the best practices.”
Leading the newly-created Great Plains Regional CyberTeam, Middelkoop is joined by experts from Kansas State University, University of South Dakota, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, South Dakota State University, University of Oklahoma and the Great Plains Network.
To help enhance this collaboration, the program will connect a member of the CyberTeam with a college or university partner. Together, they will work to determine the institution’s needs and offer resources to aid in research projects.
“For example, if an institution needs storage, we will work with the researcher to figure out the following types of storage, their needs, how they’ll interact with it, their budget, and any security and design parameters, as well as the hardware itself,” Middelkoop said. “We’ll work with vendors to come up with a technical solution, physically install it, and go through the installation process with the institution. Afterwards, we will also be there to provide ongoing support.”
With this grant, Middelkoop and his team are helping to bridge the gap between researchers and their computing needs for scientific discoveries.