The Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University has been awarded a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation to deploy Jetstream 2, a distributed cloud computing system intended to support on-demand research, artificial intelligence, and enhanced large-scale data analyses.

Jetstream 2 is designed to be easily used by researchers who have limited experience with high performance computing and software resources, in hopes of serving smaller academic communities with no previous access to such resources.

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie added, “For over 20 years, Indiana University has continued to grow in our high-performance computing expertise, stature, and service to the nation’s research competitiveness. The NSF’s renewal and expansion of Jetstream will push the total NSF investment in IU-led computing systems to over $50 million in the last decade, and we are grateful to the NSF for their confidence in IU’s leadership and abilities in this vital scientific area for the United States.”

“Jetstream 2 builds on the tremendous success of the original Jetstream system at IU and with our partners,” said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for IT. “It bundles computation, software, and access to storage for individuals and teams of researchers who span hundreds of areas of research and who work at the frontiers of scientific inquiry. It further expands IU’s many technology and research partnerships across the nation.”

“Now more than ever, scientists across all domains have access to massive amounts of data to analyze, which will lead to dramatic new discoveries,” said David Y. Hancock, Jetstream 2 principal investigator and director for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure in University Information Technology Services (UITS).

Jetstream 2 will enable researchers to make sense of this ever-growing cache of information, while also introducing “AI for everyone.”

“We intend Jetstream 2 to be a democratizing force within the NSF ecosystem, allowing researchers and educators access to cutting-edge resources regardless of project scale. ‘AI for Everyone’ is a term we’ve coined to embrace that idea. Through the use of virtual infrastructure, including virtual GPUs, we will be able to provide more access to high-end technologies to enable deep learning and artificial intelligence techniques,” said Hancock. 

Jetstream will also provide enhanced educational infrastructure. Easy to expand and reconfigure, Jetstream 2 will serve as a model of distributed cloud computing for other academic institutions considering investing in their own advanced cyberinfrastructure facilities.

“The implementation of Jetstream 2 will demonstrate that colleges and universities can invest sustainable amounts of their own funds in highly effective, flexible cyberinfrastructure resources that generate a significant return on investment,” Hancock said. “While these facilities will be modest in scale, they’ll represent the state-of-the-art in reconfigurable computing.” Further, the project team has a goal of serving more students than any other NSF-funded cyberinfrastructure resource, leading to a diverse pool of graduates entering the STEM workforce with robust training in computational science.  

The current Jetstream system was led by IU in 2014 and funded as the NSF’s first production science and engineering research cloud system for the nation. Jetstream has offered cloud-based, on-demand computing and data analysis resources within the national Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE).

Over the years, the Jetstream system has given thousands of U.S. researchers access to a powerful cloud-based environment that complements other NSF systems—all from a laptop or iPad—allowing them to explore and understand immense amounts of data. Today, Jetstream is part of the COVID-19 HPC Consortium, offering resources in support of research related to finding a cure for the global pandemic.

“These awards represent a suite of complementary advanced computational capabilities and services aimed to empower new fundamental research in many fields,” said Amy Friedlander, acting director of the NSF Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure. “NSF’s long-standing investments in advanced and innovative computing respond to the rapid evolution and expansion of computational- and data-intensive research being conducted across all of science and engineering.”

Consisting of five computational systems, Jetstream 2’s primary system will be located at Indiana University, with four smaller regional systems deployed nationwide at partners Arizona State University, Cornell University, the University of Hawai’i, and the Texas Advanced Computing Center. The 8 petaFLOPS cloud computing system will use next-generation AMD EPYC processors and NVIDIA A100 GPUs, and 18.5 petabytes of storage. Within the Pervasive Technology Institute the project will be led by UITS Research Technologies with key contributions from the Cyberinfrastructure Integration Research Center and the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research. Additional Jetstream 2 partners include the University of Arizona, Johns Hopkins University, and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, with Dell Inc. as the primary supplier.