One year to go at NSF

The end of last week (26 March) marked the start of my fourth and final year as a rotator at NSF.  It’s been a really good experience so far, and I’m a bit sad to see the end coming.

I’ve really enjoyed being able to work with a wonderful set of people in the Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure and across NSF.  Everyone I’ve worked with is here because they want to contribute to new gains in science, engineering, and education, and my colleagues are willing to think creatively about how best to do this.

In particular, it’s been a privilege to lead the Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation (SI2) program and working group, following Manish Parashar and Gabrielle Allen, working briefly with Rudi Eigenmann, and currently with Rajiv Ramnath.  I’m proud of the Software Vision we wrote, and the plans for implementing it across NSF.  And I’m happy to finally have the process for funding full Software Institutes underway.

On the research side, I’m thankful to my collaborators, particularly Mike Wilde and the U Chicago & Argonne Swift team, Shantenu Jha, Jon Weissman, Omer Rana, Kyle Chard, Simon Caton, and Manish Parashar for enabling me to usefully contribute to a variety of continuing projects during my limited research time.

And I’m happy that I’ve been able to create a new research and community building activity around sustainable software and its role in cyberinfrastructure, including software citation and career paths, working with Gabrielle, David Proctor, Neil Chue Hong, Manish, Matt Turk, Arfon Smith, Kaitlin Thaney, and many others.

This really has been a wonderful opportunity, and I urge others in the US to think about when the right time will be for you to spend a year or two (or three or four) at NSF, contributing to the community and also learning an incredible amount about both how things work on this side of the curtain and also about what other exciting work is going on that you probably didn’t know.

Of course, things will continue, both in this next year and beyond.  SI2 is going well and the start of the Institutes will be a new exciting phase.  In WSSSPE, we’ll continue with a WSSSPE2.1 workshop at SciPy this summer and a larger WSSSPE3 meeting in Boulder in September, and try to transition from a set of people talking about good things to do to a set of people working together to accomplish them.

Overall, I’ve worked both more and harder at NSF than I thought I would, but it’s been well worthwhile, and as I said at the beginning, I’m a bit sad to see the end approaching in another 12 months.

Disclaimer

Some work by the author was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) while working at the Foundation; any opinion, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.

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danielskatz

Assistant Director for Scientific Software and Applications at NCSA, Research Associate Professor in CS, ECE, and the iSchool at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; works on systems and tools (aka cyberinfrastructure) and policy related to computational and data-enabled research, primarily in science and engineering

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