What is cyberinfrastructure?
Cyberinfrastructure has several definitions; at Indiana University, UITS uses the following:
Cyberinfrastructure consists of computing systems, data storage systems, advanced instruments and data repositories, visualization environments, and people, all linked by high speed networks to make possible scholarly innovation and discoveries not otherwise possible. Cyberinfrastructure is a term first used by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), and it typically is used to refer to information technology systems that provide particularly powerful and advanced capabilities.
The word cyberinfrastructure is based intentionally on the word infrastructure. Most people don't care to know the details of how electricity is generated; they just want to plug their appliances into the wall and have them work. The ultimate goal for those people creating and implementing cyberinfrastructure projects is to make use of advanced information technology systems as easy as plugging an appliance into a wall outlet.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made cyberinfrastructure a central theme in its plans for developing and delivering tools to enhance scientific discovery, and has set out an aggressive set of plans for development of cyberinfrastructure as a national discovery environment. (See NSF's Cyberinfrastructure Vision for 21st Century Discovery.) The US Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and many other organizations also have cyberinfrastructure plans and development projects. Cyberinfrastructure is not limited to the sciences, but can serve the arts, humanities, and social sciences as well. (See Report of the American Council of Learned Societies Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences.) "Cyberinfrastructure" is intended to be more comprehensive than the term "grid computing".
For more, see the Cyberinfrastructure Wikipedia page.
This document was developed with support from National Science Foundation (NSF) grant OCI-1053575. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.
Last modified on May 13, 2013.