Launched in 2017 with funding from the NSF, the Northeast Cyberteam makes advanced computing and data resources and research computing facilitators more readily available to support computationally intensive research at small and medium-sized institutions in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.
Research Computing Facilitators (RCFs) are experts at figuring out how to match the right compute resources to the task at hand, something that can stymie researchers who are, for example, sifting through billions of records to find a specific pattern of genes that correlates with a particular form of cancer; or examining massive quantities of sensor data to understand movements on the sea floor. The RCF’s job is to help make use of local, regional, and national high performance computing resources when computing needs exceed the capacity of the scientist’s desktop. RCFs can often be found in the research computing groups at large universities and corporations, but are scarce at smaller institutions. Recognizing that promising research can be stopped in its tracks without high performance computing when the need arises, the Northeast Cyberteam Program was created to fill the gap. Since inception, the program has supported compute-intensive projects with RCFs-in-training ("students-facilitators"), each paired with a mentor, to facilitate research computing needs for a 3 to 6 month period. RCF students also have the opportunity to work on a live help desk with a mentor, honing their consultative skills while getting exposure to a broad range of research computing topics. As part of the program, RCF students become part of a community of facilitators that has up-to-the-minute visibility into research computing projects and programs taking place in the region. Stipends ranging from $3000-$6000 are available for students participating in the program.
The Northeast Cyberteam is a collaborative effort by led by the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC), University of Maine, University of New Hampshire, and University of Vermont, with support from the University of Massachusetts system and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The program is modeled after other regional collaborations that have emerged since the opening of MGHPCC, a consortium created in 2013 by Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts system to build a high-performance data center that now houses the largest aggregation of research computing power in the Northeast.