Message from the Director
The Institute for CyberScience at Penn State University (ICS@PSU) was created in response to the emerging multidisciplinary field of computational science that uses advanced computing and information science to enable discovery.
Cyberscience is a fast growing mode of discovery, in addition to traditional theory and experiment, because it provides a unique virtual laboratory to investigate complex problems that are otherwise impossible or impractical to address. Such problems can range from understanding the physics of the origins of the universe, the genomic/molecular basis of disease, the socio–economic impacts of a digital society; designing smart structures and nanoscale tailored materials; and, developing systems for clean energy or real–time responses to threats.
In its report Computational Science: Ensuring America's Competitiveness (PDF), the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee identified three distinct research frontiers:
- Algorithms (numerical and non–numerical), modeling and simulation software developed to solve problems in science (e.g., biological, physical, and social), engineering, and the humanities.
- Computer and information science that develops and optimizes the advanced system hardware, software, networking, and information management components needed to solve computation and data intensive problems.
- The computing and data–hosting infrastructure that supports both the discipline-specific problem solving and the developmental computer and information science.
The intellectual strength of computational science is in its universality––all research domains benefit from it but none is solely defined by it. Thus, at Penn State, this essentially multidisciplinary field is represented by ICS@PSU, an Institute organized under the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research, in cooperation with seven Colleges (Agricultural Sciences, Business, Earth and Mineral Sciences, Engineering, Information Sciences and Technology, the Liberal Arts, and Science), major Institutes (Applied Research Laboratory, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, Materials Research Institute, Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment, Social Science Research Institute), Information Technology Services and University Libraries.
ICS@PSU was developed to enhance Penn State’s national and international presence and stature in cyberscience, by growing its foundational core and advancing its frontiers in Energy and the Environment, Life, Materials, and Social Sciences.
I see the future of ICS@PSU as a collaborative journey that transcends disciplinary boundaries to enable exciting discoveries that would not be possible otherwise. ICS@PSU will promote this enterprise through a variety of activities including coordination of computational infrastructure and instrumentation, sponsorship of graduate and undergraduate training, and strategic targeting of funds, in coordination with other Penn State Institutes, to support research groups tasked with developing multiple large–scale, high–impact research proposals.