University of Southern California


NSF-19-587: Advanced Computing Systems & Services: Adapting to the Rapid Evolution of Science and Engineering Research

Slots:                                                     One.  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.

Internal Deadline:                           Contact the Office of Research if interested.

LOI:                                                        N/A       

External Deadline:                          November 5, 2019, 5pm PT

Award Information:                        Type: Cooperative Agreement

Estimated Number of Awards: 2 to 4

Anticipated Amount: $5,000,000 – $10,000,000 per award, up to 5 years.

Cost Sharing:                                     Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

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.

Additional Eligibility Info:            It is recognized that FFRDCs may be positioned to make unique contributions to the Innovative HPC systems environment important to academic researchers. Hence, for the purposes of this solicitation, NSF will consider acquiring and deploying High-Performance Computing (HPC) systems at Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) sites. However, proposing organizations must assure that open access to the deployed HPC systems or services will be provided to researchers from the broad range of science and engineering (S&E) fields supported by NSF.


The intent of this solicitation is to request proposals from organizations willing to serve as service providers (SPs) within the HPC program to provide advanced CI capabilities and/or services in production operation to support the full range of computational- and data-intensive research across all of S&E.

This competition emphasizes the provisioning of an ecosystem of advanced computational resources and services that is responsive to the dramatic increase in the number and nature of applications using NSF-funded resources. It also explicitly focuses on the growing scale and diversity of the S&E community, the changing nature of S&E research requirements, as well as the rapidly evolving CI landscape, with the overarching goal of supporting transformational S&E discoveries.

An important aspect of the current solicitation is that funded projects must provide CI capabilities and/or services that demonstrate high degrees of stability and usability during the period of production operations available to the S&E community. NSF strongly urges the community to consider expanding the range of possibilities in enabling S&E communities to leverage the power of computation for transformative research, and to think broadly about the nature and composition of the CI ecosystem.

Such consideration may include, but is not limited to, ease of access to proposed systems/services by new S&E communities; new capabilities that will open up new methods and paradigms for S&E discoveries; federated approaches with opportunities for leveraging the increasing availability and capabilities at the network edge (including campuses); and composable services provisioning virtualized on-premise computing infrastructure and commercial cloud services.

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. 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. 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:

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.

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:

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