Campus News

NSF program director: Make cyberscience accessible to all

On Oct. 12, Sushil Prasad, program director at the National Science Foundation, visited UGA to talk about making cyberscience accessible to everyone.

Prasad’s lecture, “Innovations in NSF Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Research Workforce Development and Education Programs,” was designated one of the university’s fall 2018 Signature Lectures.

“Advanced computing and large-scale data handling, networking, cybersecurity—these are not necessarily only for computer scientists,” said Prasad, who is the program director of the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure at NSF. “We, the computer scientists, only do part of it. We do a lot of innovation, but the real use is by the entire STEM and nonSTEM industry.”

During the lecture, he summarized research and education opportunities with OAC. The office funds infrastructure that allows for “big science,” and the five areas OAC deals with are advanced computing, data, software, cybersecurity and learning and workforce development.

“OAC’s main mission is to support robust cyberinfrastructure for science,” Prasad said. “Mission number two is to support forward-looking research and education, which is needed for all this innovation work.”

NSF has multiple departments that fund research, and the OAC has awarded more than $1 billion to 50 U.S. states and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico. According to Prasad, the OAC focuses on funding research that addresses gaps in research and education programs and would help to create change in the structure of computer science departments and how the subject is taught and learned. 

“Think about computational and data science for all,” he said. “How do we make it happen? This is important for our own education, for the entire pipeline and also for the research that’s done.”