Indiana University says its information technology researchers won more than $20 million in federal grants in 2014. The university says the funding, which is a school record, is allowing researchers to use big data to analyze issues ranging from climate change to drug discovery.

January 22, 2015

News Release

Bloomington, Ind. — In fields ranging from big data to cloud computing to cybersecurity, Indiana University tech researchers won more than $20 million in highly competitive federal IT research grants in 2014. These awards create advanced IT tools used by researchers for medical and scientific breakthroughs and further illustrate IU's growing IT strengths.

The two largest grants have far-reaching implications for researchers working with big data to understand complex issues like climate change, water scarcity and drug discovery. As research challenges become more sophisticated, researchers increasingly use complex big data, supercomputers and high-performance networks as the essential tools of discovery. Creating cyberinfrastructure to support and extend these tools is a research-and-development area in which Indiana has significant prominence.

In October, an IU School of Informatics and Computing team led by IU Distinguished Professor Geoffrey Fox won a $5 million grant as part of the National Science Foundation's $31 million Data Infrastructure Building Blocks program. The IU award was one of the largest individual grants bestowed by the program. The team will design, develop and implement building blocks to improve computation and analysis of large amounts of data.

This was followed by a $6.6 million NSF award to IU's Pervasive Technology Institute to create NSF's first science and engineering research cloud, Jetstream, led by Craig Stewart, adjunct associate professor in the School of Informatics and Computing and executive director of the Pervasive Technology Institute. The new system will be a user-friendly cloud environment, designed to give researchers and students on-demand access to computing and data analysis resources — from their tablets, laptops or desktop computers. IU is expected to receive a total of about $11 million from NSF over the next five years to create, implement and operate Jetstream.

Indiana University was the only institution to lead winning proposals in those two major and highly competitive NSF IT grant programs in 2014.

Bobby Schnabel, dean of the School of Informatics and Computing, noted 2014 as an impressive year. “The faculty members in SoIC and at IU overall continue to put forth innovative research ideas that are succeeding at the highest levels of federal competition for funded research,” he said.

Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and Kelley School of Business professor, added, “IU has grown in national stature as an innovative IT leader and partner of choice with other leading universities. These large IT research grants and many others demonstrate the growing technology research prowess at IU.”

Also in 2014, IU continued its work with the private sector to improve the competitiveness of Indiana-based companies. For years, the university's Pervasive Technology Institute has helped Hoosier companies make use of IU supercomputers. IU will allocate 10 percent of the computational capacity of the national Jetstream system, and some of that will be used for economic development with Indiana companies.

“For several years, Cummins Inc. and the Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute have collaborated to use advanced supercomputers to create more efficient diesel engines,” said John Deur, director of combustion research at Cummins Inc., based in Columbus, Ind. “Cloud computing shows tremendous potential, and we think this new cloud system will have particularly great benefits for the private sector in Indiana.”

IU's other notable tech awards include:

–$1.2 million NSF grant to examine the balance between privacy and public use of wearable cameras, led by assistant professors Apu Kapadia and David Crandall.

–$1.4 million DARPA grant for streamlining programming, led by assistant professor Chung-chieh “Ken” Shan.

–$2.6 million award to study water resources and climate variability, led by geography professor Tom Evans.

–Computational facilities for $6.2 million research study, provided by IU genome analysis center.

–Grant to host NSF Cybersecurity Summits in 2014 and 2015.

About the IU School of Informatics and Computing

Founded in 2000 as the first school of its kind in the United States, the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing is dedicated to research and teaching across a broad range of computing and information technology, with emphasis on science, applications and societal implications. The school's programs include computer science, informatics, and information and library science. The school, which includes locations at Bloomington and IUPUI, administers a variety of bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. programs, including the first-ever Ph.D. in informatics. The school is dedicated to excellence in education and research, to partnerships that bolster economic development and entrepreneurship, and to increasing opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in computing and technology.

About the Pervasive Technology Institute

The Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University is a world-class organization dedicated to the development and delivery of innovative information technology to advance research, education, industry and society. Since 2000, PTI has received more than $50 million from the National Science Foundation to advance the nation's research cyberinfrastructure. Established by a major grant from the Lilly Endowment, the Pervasive Technology Institute brings together researchers and technologists from a range of disciplines and organizations, including the IU School of Informatics and Computing, the IU Maurer School of Law and the College of Arts and Sciences at Bloomington, and University Information Technology Services at Indiana University.

Source: Indiana University

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