National Science Foundation

NSF: High Performance Computing System Acquisition: Building a More Inclusive Computing Environment

Program Summary

The NSF's vision for Advanced Computing Infrastructure (ACI), which is part of its Cyberinfrastructure for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21), focuses specifically on ensuring that the science and engineering community has ready access to the advanced computational and data-driven capabilities required to tackle the most complex problems and issues facing today's scientific and educational communities. To accomplish these goals requires advanced computational capabilities within the context of a multilevel comprehensive and innovative infrastructure that benefits all fields of science and engineering. Previous solicitations have concentrated on enabling petascale capability through the deployment and support of a world-class High Performance Computing (HPC) environment. In the past decade the NSF has provided the open science and engineering community with a number of state-of-the art HPC assets ranging from loosely coupled clusters, to large scale instruments with many thousands of computing cores communicating via fast interconnects, and more recently with diverse heterogeneous architectures. Recent developments in computational science have begun to focus on complex, dynamic and diverse workflows. Some of these involve applications that are extremely data intensive and may not be dominated by floating point operation speed. While a number of the earlier acquisitions have addressed a subset of these issues, the current solicitation emphasizes this even further.


An organization may submit only one proposal but may be a sub-awardee on other proposals responding to this solicitation. 

Collaborative projects may only be submitted as a single proposal in which a single award is being requested. The involvement of partner organizations should be supported through sub-awards administered by the submitting organization.
Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award: Cooperative agreement. Resources acquired and fully deployed by end of FY15 (3 year award)

Estimated Number of Awards: 2 to 3 : 1-2 for the computational resource(s) and 1 for the data resource if proposed as a stand-alone system. An integrated system designed to address both computational and data needs is acceptable.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $30,000,000 A total of up to $30,000,000 in FY 2013, subject to availability of funds, is available to fund up to three awards. The computational resource awards will be capped at $12,000,000 each and the data resource award at $6,000,000. With this solicitation, the NSF encourages the community to think broadly and not simply rely on older concepts focused on delivering compute cycles. Project durations should be for up to 4 years. An acquisition associated with the upgrade of an existing system is permissible.

To comply with the limitation of one application per organization, contact Richard Hichwa, Senior Associate Vice President for Research (, if you are interested in submitting a proposal to the NSF.

Date Due to Sponsor04/15/2013
Required LOI Due DateN/A
Non-Required LOI Due DateN/A
Sponsor URL:

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