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NSF Awards $10M to Build Jetstream 2 Cloud Computing System

Published on June 4, 2020 by Ceci Jones, Indiana University; Aaron Dubrow, TACC

TACC's Jetstream offers cloud-based, on-demand computing and data analysis resources to researchers in a number of fields. [Credit: Jorge Salazar, TACC]

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $10 million grant to deploy Jetstream 2, a distributed cloud computing system to support on-demand research, artificial intelligence, and enhanced large-scale data analyses for the nation. The project is led by the Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI) at Indiana University with the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) as a project partner.

Jetstream 2 is a follow-on project to Jetstream, which was funded in 2014 as the NSF's first production science and engineering research cloud system for the nation. The system was jointly designed and hosted by PTI and TACC. Jetstream offered cloud-based, on-demand computing and data analysis resources within the national Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, known as XSEDE, from 2016 to today.

Still from a simulation of hot gas falling into the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, enabled by Jetstream. [Credit: Lia Medeiros, Chi-Kwan Chan, Feryal Özel, Dimitrios Psaltis]

Jetstream was instrumental in helping scientists working on the Event Horizon Telescope prepare workflows needed to image a black hole for the first time. Jetstream was also the primary system within XSEDE supporting the Galaxy portal and its thousands of bioinformatics researchers (including those studying COVID-19), and enabled scientists to run large-scale studies of wind energy production.

Jetstream 2's signature innovation is its ability to make high-performance computing and software easy to use by researchers who have limited experience with supercomputing systems. This is especially helpful for smaller academic communities with little previous access to such resources. The project is expected to receive nearly $20 million in total from the NSF to create, implement, and operate Jetstream 2 over five years. The team hopes to bring on early users in mid-2021.

"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 information technology and chief information officer. "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."

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 pandemic.

"Jetstream provided the research community with critical missing capabilities that were both easy-to-use and responsive in much more familiar ways, such that a broader and more diverse cohort of both first-time and seasoned computational researchers were able to quickly adopt and leverage for their research and educational needs," said Matt Vaughn, director of the Life Sciences Computing Group at TACC and co-PI on Jetstream and Jetstream 2. "For these reasons, it was consistently one of the top reviewed national resources for both user satisfaction and first-time HPC use. TACC is proud to be part of the Jetstream team and we look forward to our continuing involvement with the project."

The project team also 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. Jetstream 2 will build on the classroom success of Jetstream, which was used in classes to teach computational biology and chemistry, and in student projects on artificial intelligence (AI) approaches to biological field research, veterinary medicine, and textual analysis.

Supercomputer simulations and analysis on Jetstream helped develop scenarios that show quadrupled expansion in wind energy in the U.S. by 2030 make small impact on efficiency and local climate. (Credit: Pryor et al., CC license)

"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," said David Y. Hancock, Jetstream 2 principal investigator and director for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure in IU's University Information Technology Services. "'AI for everyone' is a term we've coined to embrace that idea. Through the use of virtual infrastructure, we will be able to provide more access to high-end technologies to enable deep learning and artificial intelligence techniques."

"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 TACC.

The TACC system will consist of 10 nodes (eight CPU- and two GPU-based) and nearly a petabyte of storage. Through TACC, researchers using Jetstream 2 will be able to access unique resources including Ranch, TACC's archival storage system; Corral, a data collections and analysis system; large-scale NSF-funded resources including Frontera and Stampede2; and TAPIS, the TACC cloud API system. Researchers using TACC systems will also have the ability to utilize Jetstream 2 to enable and test cloud computing workflows.

An eight petaflops cloud computing system with 18.5 petabytes of storage, Jetstream 2 will use next-generation AMD EPYC processors and NVIDIA A100 GPUs. 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.

Read the original press release from Indiana University:

A technical release can be found at:

Story Highlights

NSF awarded $10 million to a consortium led by Indiana University to design and build Jetstream 2, a new cloud computing platform for U.S. researchers and students.

Jetstream 2 is a follow-on system to Jetstream, which was jointly operated by TACC and Indiana University from 2016 to the present and supports critical research nationwide.

Jetstream 2 will be an 8 PetaFLOPS system with next-generation AMD EPYC processors and NVIDIA A100 GPUs and 18.5 petabytes of storage.

TACC will host one of the projects 4 regional subsystems. The new system will connect to TACC's storage, compute, and data analysis and visualization resources.


Faith Singer-Villalobos

Communications Manager | 512-232-5771

Aaron Dubrow

Science And Technology Writer

Jorge Salazar

Technical Writer/Editor | 512-475-9411