The goal of XSEDE is to accelerate open scientific discovery by enhancing the productivity and capability of researchers, engineers, and scholars, and by broadening their participation in science and engineering. It does so by making advanced computational resources easier to use, integrating existing resources into new, powerful services and building the community of users and providers. XSEDE is a virtual organization that provisions complex distributed infrastructure, support services, and technical expertise. A prominent opportunity for XSEDE is the growing, diverse collection of advanced computing, high-end visualization, data analysis, and other resources and services available to researchers, engineers, and scholars; these resources have the potential to help understand and solve the most important and challenging problems facing the nation and world. The challenge for XSEDE, as a virtual organization, is to organize these disparate resources, creating integrated services and a coordinated environment that serves the end user needs. The challenge also includes fostering awareness of, and training for, full utilization of the capabilities offered by XSEDE and its associated resources, as well as catalyzing workforce developments. All these tasks need to be accomplished in light of evolving user requirements, resources, and NSF strategies.

The XSEDE 2 project is executed by the principal investigator (PI) and staff of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and by the co-PIs and staff of the partner organizations at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh), San Diego Supercomputing Center (SDSC, University of California San Diego), and Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC, University of Texas at Austin), as well as 15 other partner organizations.

XSEDE 2 is organized into five goal-driven focus areas:

  • The Resource Allocation Service (RAS), led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and four other partners, managing the process of receiving, evaluating and awarding proposals for computational resources.
  • The XSEDE Community Infrastructure (XCI) service, led by Cornell University and six other partners, identifies, evaluates, tests, and available new software capabilities. Governance is in place to ensure that these activities are driven by the needs of both users and providers of cyberinfrastructure.
  • Community Engagement & Enrichment (CEE), led by the University of Texas and 12 other partners, provides education, training, and outreach activities to help researchers access both local and national resources.
  • The Extended Collaborative Support Service (ECSS), led by the San Diego Supercomputer Center, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and eight other partners, maximizes the effectiveness of HPC resources through its large staff of computational experts who will directly participate in research teams, providing advanced assistance to science projects.
  • Finally, XSEDE Operations, led by the University of Tennessee and five other partners, maintains an integrated HPC capability of national scale. Operations provides a "one-stop-shop" experience for users across the XSEDE-coordinated HPC ecosystem.

Funding Source(s)


John Towns, Timothy Cockerill, Maytal Dahan, Ian Foster, Kelly Gaither, Andrew Grimshaw, Victor Hazlewood, Scott Lathrop, Dave Lifka, Gregory D. Peterson, Ralph Roskies, J. Ray Scott, Nancy Wilkins-Diehr, "XSEDE: Accelerating Scientific Discovery", Computing in Science & Engineering, vol.16, no. 5, pp. 62-74, Sept.-Oct. 2014, doi:10.1109/MCSE.2014.80

Related Link(s)

Kelly Gaither

Director of Health Analytics