The Virtual School of Computational Science and Engineering (VSCSE) is a national-scale computational science and engineering research and education program that trains graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in research techniques for using leading-edge cyberinfrastructure resources. This program has been faced with challenges to keep up with increasing demand and an acute need for a collaboration cyberinfrastructure to support its growing portfolio of courses and community of students.
In response to this need, the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois implemented the Virtual School of Computational Science and Engineering Network, a collaboration cyberinfrastructure to provide the VSCSE with research-based socio-technical systems for conducting synchronous and asynchronous learning through integrated research and education.
This proposal built on the foundations established by the VSCSE between 2008 and 2010 to accelerate national adoption of live petascale training to simultaneously reach graduate and postdoctoral students at multiple sites across the country by applying innovative and immersive collaboration technologies. This project extended the reach of the VSCSE by providing sustainable models for petascale training and education among faculty, students, practitioners, and institutions by developing the necessary infrastructure, processes, and mechanisms for current and future generations and by rigorously evaluating and assessing this work.
Over the course of three years, the VSCSE Network was implemented and organized around annual summer school courses. It featured work to develop new capabilities to enhance the Network’s ability to support highly distributed, interactive, open and community-driven education, thus expanding the breadth, depth and openness of the VSCSE. This collaboration cyberinfrastructure can help facilitate the education and training of an entire generation of computational scientists and engineers, giving them the ability to exploit petascale computational power for scientific discovery and engineering innovation.
The VSCSE Network was constructed of a synchronous instruction environment called the Virtual Classroom, a HubZero-based online community and open educational resources repository, and a coordinating center to provide staff support for network operations and outreach. A set of “Virtual Classrooms in a Box” facilitated the widespread adoption of the cyberinfrastructure.
Also serving as co-principal investigators on this project were VSCSE Director Sharon Glotzer from the U-M College of Engineering and Thomas Dunning from the University of Illinois.
For more information about the Virtual School of Computational Science and Engineering, visit the organization’s website here.