University of Southern California


NSF 19-534: Advanced Computing Systems & Services: Adapting to the Rapid Evolution of Science and Engineering Research

Slots:                                                     1. An organization may submit only one proposal but may be a subawardee on other proposals responding to this solicitation. The restriction to no more than one submitted proposal as lead institution is to help ensure that there is appropriate institutional commitment necessary for responsible oversight, by the potential awardee institution, of a national resource.

Collaborative projects may only be submitted as a single proposal in which a single award is being requested (PAPPG Chapter II.D.3.a). The involvement of partner organizations should be supported through subawards administered by the submitting organization.

These eligibility constraints will be strictly enforced in order to treat everyone fairly and consistently. In the event that an organization exceeds this limit, the proposal received within the limit will be accepted based on the earliest date and time of proposal submission (i.e., the first proposal received will be accepted and the remainder will be returned without review). No exceptions will be made.

Internal Deadline:                           Contact the Office of Research if interested.

LOI:                                                        N/A                       

External Deadline:                          March 04, 2019

Award Information:                        Type:  Cooperative Agreement

Estimated Number of Awards: 2 to 4

The length of the award may vary depending on the type of resource funded. However, in most cases, it is expected to be up to 5 years. The details are described in the section entitled Program Requirements and should be carefully considered.

Anticipated Amount: $5,000,000 to $10,000,000 per award. A total of $30,000,000 is available for this solicitation, subject to the availability of funds. It is anticipated that 1-2 awards will be made in Category I at up to $10,000,000 per award for up to five years and up to 1-2 awards in Category II at up to $5,000,000 per award for up to five years.

User support and operating costs are expected to be up to 20% of the acquisition cost per year for each deployed Category I or Category II system/service for up to five years. Should the proposed system/service require additional user and operating funds, an additional 5% may be requested along with very strong justification for the request. These costs will be provided as a separate supplement to the awarded cooperative agreement. Proposals should provide an analysis of the projected annual operating costs of the proposed system/service for a period of up to five years.

In either Category I or Category II, there is a possibility of a renewal award contingent upon availability of funds and the successful evaluation of the service provider’s performance as well as NSF merit review of the renewal proposal. During annual reviews, the Category I or Category II service provider’s achievements and future plans will be comprehensively evaluated according to the criteria defined in the initial award, associated metrics, and other relevant criteria. Contingent on a successful third-year review, Category I or Category II service provider may be invited by NSF to submit a renewal proposal in the same Category as the original award, for up to five years commencing at the beginning of the fifth year of the original award.

Submission Process:                     PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Office of Research Application Portal:


Materials to submit:


Link to Award:                          

Who May Serve as PI:                    No specific eligibility description


The intent of this solicitation is to request proposals from organizations willing to serve as service providers (SPs) within the NSF Innovative High-Performance Computing (HPC) program to provide advanced cyberinfrastructure (CI) capabilities and/or services in production operations to support the full range of computational- and data-intensive research across all of science and engineering (S&E). The current solicitation is intended to complement previous NSF investments in advanced computational infrastructure by provisioning resources, broadly defined in this solicitation to include systems and/or services, in two categories:

Resources supported through awards from this solicitation will be incorporated into and allocated as part of NSF’s Innovative HPC program. This program complements investments in leadership-class computing and funds a federation of nationally-available HPC resources that are technically diverse and intended to enable discoveries at a computational scale beyond the research of individual or regional academic institutions. NSF anticipates that at least 90% of the provisioned system or services will be available to the S&E community through an open peer-reviewed national allocation process and be supported by community and other support services [such as those currently supported through eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) 2.0 project-managed allocations recommended by the XSEDE Resource Allocation Committee (XRAC), and other activities intended to foster efficient coordination across resources], or an NSF-approved alternative that may emerge. If this is not feasible for the proposed system/services, proposers must clearly explain in detail why this is the case and how they intend to make the proposed system/services available to the national S&E community.

The current solicitation is intended to complement previous NSF investments in advanced computational infrastructure through provisioning resources in two categories as described below.

Category I – Capacity Systems

Resources proposed in this category are intended to be operational deployments of production computational resources that will provide maximum capacity and throughput to support the broad range of computation and data analytics needs in S&E research. The proposed resource must be clearly motivated by the current and future demand for computational and data analytics capacityin the broad and diverse S&E research community. This category particularly targets capabilities and/or services for small- to mid-scale jobs (from one to a few thousand cores per job) across broad areas of S&E, including support for “long-tail science” applications, as well as new classes of applications, such as artificial intelligence/machine learning/deep learning applications. Proposers are encouraged to explore novel models that leverage federated and/or distributed resources, regional and/or campus supported resources, and/or commercial cloud services.

Competitive proposals in Category I must address the following requirements in the Project Description:

Relevant parameters contributing to the comprehensive technical description of the proposed system may vary with the nature of the resource. However, all description of the proposed resource must closely adhere to the guidelines provided in section V.A. Proposal Preparation Instructions.

Category II – Innovative Prototypes/Testbeds

Resources proposed in this category will be initially deployed as a prototype/testbed system supporting S&E research through delivery of novel forward-looking capabilities and services. Resources proposed in this category can represent the deployment of new technologies, system architectures, or usage modalities at scale, with plans for developing a national S&E user community that will benefit from the proposed capabilities. Proposed systems could include novel processor architectures supporting artificial intelligence applications, distributed systems leveraging edge devices, domain-specific architectures and technologies, such as but not exclusively, reconfigurable and/or software defined systems, systems designed for streaming data and/or real-time processing, etc.

Proposers must clearly define the target classes of S&E applications that will be enabled, as well as a clear plan for ensuring the widespread adoption by these classes of applications on the proposed capabilities and/or services. While the resources in this category may initially include prototypes/experimental testbeds, proposers are expected to present a clear near-term plan for transitioning to high-availability production services broadly available and allocable to the S&E community through open peer-reviewed processes during the final 24 months of the project award period. It is also expected that the initially-deployed prototype/testbed will include active engagements with S&E researchers, and these engagements will be reviewed by NSF in its evaluation of the system. Clear science impact metrics for measuring the performance of the proposed system are required.

Competitive proposals in Category II must address the following requirements in the Project Description:

Project duration for both categories will depend on the nature of the resource to be deployed. Resources may be deployed in one step near the beginning of the award period, or progressively in a series of steps or phases during the award period.


Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for updates and other announcements.