The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a University of Arizona–led team $50 million dollars to create a global center and computer cyberinfrastructure within which to answer plant biology's grand challenge questions, which no single research entity in the world currently has the capacity to address. The project will unite plant scientists, computer scientists and information scientists from around the world for the first time ever to provide answers to questions of global importance and advance all of these fields. The five-year project, dubbed the iPlant Collaborative, potentially is renewable for a second five years for a total of $100 million. The Lead investigator for the project is Rich Jorgensen, PHD along with Co-Principal investigators, Sudha Ram from Management Information Systems, Vicki Chandler from BIO5, and Greg Andrews from Computer Science, at the University of Arizona. Also collaborating on this project is co-principal investigator Lincoln Stein from Cold Spring Harbor Labs, New York. The iPlant Collaborative will create both a physical center and a virtual computing space where researchers can communicate and work together as they share, analyze and manipulate data, all while seeking answers to plant biology’s greatest unsolved mysteries—its grand-challenge questions. The cyberinfrastructure and the researchers will rely heavily on computational thinking, a form of problem-solving that assigns computers the jobs they’re most efficient at, and in doing so frees up humans to spend more time on the creative tasks that humans do best. The iPlant cyberinfrastructure will serve as a model for solving problems in fields outside of plant biology, too.
For more on iPlant and the MIS Department’s involvement, please contact Sudha Ram at email@example.com
The Plant Collaboration website can be viewed at: http://www.iplantcollaborative.org
Dr. Ram received the IBM faculty Development Award.
Dr. Ram received the UA Leading Edge Innovator in Research Award.