NSF’s Polar Cyberinfrastructure Program Initiative
Witness the Arctic provides information on current arctic research efforts and findings, significant research initiatives, national policy affecting arctic research, international activities, and profiles of institutions with major arctic research efforts. Witness serves an audience of arctic scientists, educators, agency personnel, and policy makers. Witness was published biannually in hardcopy from 1995-2008 (archives are available below) and is currently published online 3-4 times annually, depending on newsworthy events.
With the Spring 2009 issue, ARCUS changed the format of Witness the Arctic. To provide more frequent updates and reduce printing and mailing costs and associated environmental impacts, the newsletter is now distributed online in three or four shorter issues per year, depending on newsworthy events.
Marco Tedesco, recently appointed Polar Cyberinfrastructure Program Director at NSF's Division of Polar Programs, aims to lay the foundation of an infrastructure that will be as revolutionary for polar science as the coming of water and electric power was for our cities.The Polar Cyberinfrastructure Program, in partnership with the Division of Cyberinfrastructure, is part of the cross-foundation initiative: Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21). This initiative seeks to provide a comprehensive, integrated, secure, and sustainable cyberinfrastructure (CI) that will accelerate research and education and support new functional capabilities in computational and data-intensive science and engineering.
CI is the set of physical and virtual environments that support information and computing services including data acquisition, storage and management, integration, and visualization. CI can also be interpreted as a set of technological and sociological systems providing efficient connections between laboratories, data, computers, and people with the goal of enabling novel scientific discoveries and promoting education through knowledge sharing.
Cyber technologies have made critical impacts on polar research. Increased deployment of sophisticated sensors in both the arctic and Antarctic regions combined with enhanced computational power enable scientists to observe and describe the present state of the polar regions, unveil past trends, and project future climate and environmental changes. These efforts often require extremely sophisticated integration of theoretical, experimental, observational, and modeling results as well as virtual networks for sharing information, data, and publications. The recent increase in volume and complexity of data and technologies, which support scientific discovery, demand a transformed infrastructure.
The main goal of the Polar CI Program will be to advance discovery, innovation, and education across disciplines in the Arctic and Antarctic. This will be achieved in part through integration of updated computing, data management, information, networking, and sensor and software technologies into polar research efforts. These advances will enhance data-enabled discoveries, storage and distribution of large complex data sets, continuity of access to long-lived publicly accessible data sets, and other important functions. The program will interact with other ongoing NSF CI activities such as EarthCube. The program aims to transform the research and engineering community's ability to effectively address and solve the many complex problems facing science and society.
Further information about NSF's CIF21 is available here.
For more information about the Polar Cyberinfrastructure Program, please contact Marco Tedesco via email (mtedesco [at] nsf [dot] gov) or phone: 703-292-7120.