NSF-funded CloudBank will broaden access to Berkeley’s data science educational infrastructure

September 8, 2020

Sept. 18 webinar will introduce new users to program’s services, resources

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego and its partners at UC Berkeley and the University of Washington, and Strategic Blue have entered production operations of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded CloudBank program, which aims to simplify the use of public clouds across computer science research and education.

CloudBank is the result of a mid-2019 $5 million NSF award to SDSC and its partners to develop a suite of managed services to simplify public cloud access for computer science research and education. Over the past year, the CloudBank team has been working with public cloud providers, early users, project advisors, and the broader computer science community to develop the processes, tools, and education and outreach materials that address the plethora of pain points in making effective use of public clouds.

A one-hour webinar explaining what services and support CloudBank offers, and how to request resources via CloudBank in NSF proposals will be held at 8 a.m. Friday, September 18 (Pacific time). The webinar will include a demonstration of the CloudBank user portal, which is a centerpiece of the project. For details and registration go here.

Kathy Yelick, associate dean for research in the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society and professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science is the CloudBank PI for UC Berkeley. 

“We are building support for the data science education software stack within CloudBank, making it easier for universities to use the material from Berkeley’s program,” Yelick said.

CloudBank has been structured to support specific NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) solicitations that have an option for principal investigators to request public cloud resources as part of the proposal. 

Currently there are three open solicitations that can request cloud resources via CloudBank: Cyber-physical Systems, Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovation, and the CISE Core Programs. CloudBank maintains a page of past and current NSF solicitations that are eligible under this program.

CloudBank has a mission to support multiple cloud providers, and while the user portal addresses this from the user perspective, there is significant complexity in working with providers in areas of contract negotiation, accounting, billing, and cost management. Through an innovative partnership with Strategic Blue, CloudBank is able to work with a single entity rather than each provider individually. This results in both operational and cost efficiencies that can be passed along to researchers.