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Researchers use advanced digital resources and services every day to expand their understanding of our world. More pointedly, research now requires more than just supercomputers and XSEDE represents a step toward a more comprehensive and cohesive set of advanced digital services through our mission: to substantially enhance the productivity of a growing community of scholars, researchers, and engineers through access to advanced digital services that support open research; and to coordinate and add significant value to the leading cyberinfrastructure resources funded by the NSF and other agencies.  XSEDE has developed its strategic goals in a manner consistent with NSF’s strategic plan, Building the Future: Investing in Discovery and Innovation - NSF Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years (FY) 2018 - 2022,[1] NSF’s strategies stated broadly in the Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering,[2] vision document, and, the more specifically relevant, Advanced Computing Infrastructure: Vision and Strategic Plan[3] document. Though the latter two documents are now out of date for the NSF, in the absence of documents that supplant them, XSEDE continues to use them for general guidance until such time as successor documents are released. It should be noted here that a draft document, Transforming Science Through Cyberinfrastructure: NSF’s Blueprint for a National Cyberinfrastructure Ecosystem for Science and Engineering in the 21st Century[4], distributed by NSF’s Office Director for the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, is currently available for public comment. 

 

1.1       Strategic Goals

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As discussed in our preceding report, the XSEDE Reporting Year 2 Annual Report and Project Year 8 Program Plan[4], a significant review of our KPIs and metrics was conducted in the latter half of calendar year 2017. This resulted in considerable changes in metrics as we refined them. Table 1?-1 reflects the revised summary of KPIs against which we will be reporting in this and subsequent reports.

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The five components of CEE are Workforce Development (§3.2), which includes Training, Education and Student Preparation, User Engagement (§3.3), Broadening Participation (§3.4), User Interfaces & Online Information (§3.5), and Campus Engagement (§3.6). These five teams ensure routine collection and reporting of XSEDE’s actions to address user requirements. They provide a consistent suite of web-based information and documentation and engage with a broad range of campus personnel to ensure that XSEDE’s resources and services complement those offered by campuses. Additionally, CEE teams expand workforce development efforts to enable many more researchers, faculty, staff, and students to make effective use of local, regional, and national advanced digital resources. CEE expands efforts to broaden the diversity of the community utilizing advanced digital resources. 

The success of the CEE team tightly coordinates with the rest of XSEDE, particularly Extended Collaborative Support Service (ECSS) (§4), Resource Allocation Services (§7), XSEDE Cyberinfrastructure Integration (§5), and External Relations (§8.2).depends on effective collaboration across all L2 areas of the project. Specifically, User Engagement works closely with RAS and ECSS to establish a dialogue with XSEDE’s User Community in order to better understand their needs and desires. Workforce Development and Broadening Participation partner with ECSS to develop impactful training and education opportunities for the community, especially underrepresented students, researchers, and faculty. The User Interfaces & Online Information team relies heavily on all areas of the project to ensure that the website remains accurate and informative. The Campus Engagement team likewise depends on all parts of the project to facilitate the effective participation of a diverse national community of campuses in the application of advanced digital resources and services to accelerate discovery, enhance education, and foster scholarly achievement.

CEE is focused on personal interactions, ensuring that existing users, potential users, and the general public have sufficient access to materials and have a positive and effective experience with XSEDE public offerings and frontline user support. As such, the CEE Key Performance Indicators are designed to broadly assess this performance. CEE focuses on metrics that quantify how many users in aggregate are benefiting from XSEDE resources and services. Additionally, CEE focuses on how well the user base is sustained over time and how well training offerings evolve with changing user community needs.

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ECSS projects fall into five categories: Extended Support for Research Teams (ESRT) (§4.2), Novel and Innovative Projects (NIP) (§4.3), Extended Support for Community Codes (ESCC) (§4.4), Extended Support for Science Gateways (ESSGW) (§4.5), and Extended Support for Training, Education and Outreach (ESTEO) (§4.6). Project-based ECSS support is requested by researchers via the XSEDE peer-review allocation process, or, in some cases, suggested by reviewers as something that would benefit the researchers. If reviewers recommend support and if staff resources are available, projects progress through three activities. First, the project is assigned to an ECSS expert. Second, the project is quantified with the formation of a work plan through collaboration with the research group. The work plan includes concrete quarterly goals and staffing commitments from both the PI team and ECSS. Third, when the project is completed, the ECSS expert produces a final report with input from the research group. A successful project is the completion of all three phases. Each state of the progression is measured to provide an assessment of progress. Submission of work plans within 45 days of initial contact, 90% of projects with work plans completed, and 85% of completed projects with final reports within three months are additional criteria for success. The ECSS managers review work plans and also track progress via Interim Project Reports. 

The success of the ECSS team depends on effective collaboration across all L2 areas of the project.  Specifically, ECSS works closely with XCI to expand software capabilities; External Relations within PgO to communicate the science successes enabled by ECSS assistance; RAS to review allocations requests; and CEE to develop and deliver training in HPC, data intensive computing, effective use of XSEDE resources and other topics. In addition, ECSS partners with CEE to manage the Campus Champions Fellows program, which can involve mentors from any L2 area. 

Key Performance Indicators for Extended Collaborative Support Service are listed in the table below. 

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XCI envisions a national cyberinfrastructure that is consistent, straightforward to understand, and practical for use by researchers and students. Service to XSEDE Service Providers (SPs) is a particularly important aspect of XCI’s activities. XCI strives to make it possible for researchers and students to effortlessly use computational and data analysis resources ranging from those allocated by XSEDE to campus-based CI facilities, an individual’s workstation, and commercial cloud providers, and to interact with these resources via CI software services such as science gateways and Globus Online. XCI provides two essential integrating services: XCI provides the software glue that ties XSEDE together; particularly, it enables the interoperability of advanced computing resources supported by XSEDE with each other and with the XSEDE portal and other underlying infrastructure (e.g., accounting information), and XCI also improves the capabilities of campus cyberinfrastructure administrators anywhere in the US to manage local facilities in ways that are easily interoperable with the evolving national CI fabric while simultaneously leveraging training and educational materials created and disseminated by XSEDE.

The success of the XCI team depends on effective collaboration across all L2 areas of the project. Specifically, the Requirements Analysis & Capability Delivery (RACD) team relies on Ops to integrate new capabilities as well as CEE, RAS, and the PgO’s External Relations (ER) team to help improve XSEDE services and inform the user community of their existence. The Cyberinfrastructure Resource Integration (CRI) team also collaborates with ER to communicate the tools and services which XSEDE makes available to the national CI community.

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In addition to the Operations Director’s Office (§6.1), Operations staff is subdivided into four teams based on the work breakdown structure: Cybersecurity (§6.2), Data Transfer Services (DTS, §6.3), XSEDE Operations Center (XOC, §6.4), and Systems Operational Support (SysOps, §6.5). The Operations management team meets weekly, and individual Operations groups meet approximately bi-weekly with all meeting minutes posted to the XSEDE wiki. 

The success of the Operations (Ops) team depends on effective collaboration across all L2 areas of the project. In particular, Ops relies on XCI to support new capabilities and services (e.g., security or networking technologies) and RAS to create and deploy solutions to improve help ticket response or the central database. In addition, Ops relies on all WBS teams and the Service Providers to respond to help tickets for their areas that are submitted by users.

Key Performance Indicators for Operations are listed in the table below. 

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The Resource Allocation Service (RAS) is building on XSEDE’s current allocation processes and evolving to meet the challenges presented by new types of resources to be allocated via XSEDE, new computing and data modalities to support increasingly diverse research needs, and large-scale demands from the user community for limited XSEDE-allocated resources. RAS is pursuing these objectives through three activities: managing the XSEDE allocations process in coordination with the XD Service Providers (§7.2), enhancing and maintaining the RAS infrastructure and services (§7.3), and anticipating changing community needs.

The success of the RAS team depends on effective collaboration across all L2 areas of the project. Specifically, RAS collaborates closely with Ops to ensure capabilities are available, secure, and up-to-date; with External Relations (ER) within the Program Office to promote allocations periods and services; with XCI for continual product improvement and optimization; with CEE’s User Interfaces and Online Information (UII) for user optimization of services and processes; and with ECSS for efficient review of quarterly allocation requests.

Key Performance Indicators for the Resource Allocation Service are listed in the table below. 

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The purpose of the Program Office (PgO) is to ensure critical project level functions are in place and operating effectively and efficiently. The oversight provided via the Project Office is necessary to provide consistent guidance and leadership to the L3 managers across the project. A common and consistent approach to managing projects and risks is provided by the Project Management, Reporting and Risk Management (PM&R) team (§8.3), while Business Operations (§8.4) manages all financial functions and sub-awards. The crucial aspect of communications to all stakeholders is the focus of the External Relations team (§8.2). Finally, Strategy, Planning, Policy, Evaluation & Organizational Improvement (SP&E) (§8.5) focuses attention in precisely those areas to ensure the best possible structure continues to exist within XSEDE to allow the support of all significant project activities and enable efficient and effective performance of all project responsibilities.

The success of the PgO depends on effective collaboration across all L2 areas of the project. The PgO conducts all administrative work for XSEDE, ensuring each project area is able to stay in operation and focused on the user-base. In addition, External Relations works with all L2 areas of the project to ensure that the user community is aware of the services offered by each area and to highlight project successes.

Key Performance Indicators for the Program Office are listed in the table below. 

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