For more than twenty years, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been a national computational resource for our nation's scientists and engineers. We offer cutting-edge computing, visualization, and data storage resources and user services to help researchers make optimal use of them. We develop technologies and applications to help researchers do their work more effectively, and we harness the power of the national cyberinfrastructure by developing the integrated, end-to-end software environments that both provide these users with access to high-end resources and capabilities and the ability to coordinate, automate, and apply them effectively.
As one of the original sites on the NSFNet, which provided the backbone for the present-day Internet, NCSA has always been a production, open supercomputing facility. Making our computational resources easily accessible to our users, who run the gamut from K-12 educators to academic researchers and students to government and industrial partners, is a top priority: our endpoints--more than 5000 of them--are not hidden behind firewalls like those of corporate sites, but are accessible worldwide.
Accessibility to cyber resources is absolutely necessary to the productivity of the nation's scientific and engineering community, but such accessibility means effectively addressing and preventing system vulnerabilities. As a result, over the last two decades NCSA has developed broad and deep expertise in detecting and responding to attacks and intrusions of all sorts. With more than 20 years' experience designing and deploying systems that meet stringent cybersecurity requirements for serving a diverse, national scientific community, NCSA is a recognized leader both in site security and security for distributed systems and grids, with funding for research and development from NSF and the Department of Defense Office of Naval Research through the National Middleware Initiative GRIDS Center and the National Center for Advanced Secure Systems Research (NCASSR).
NCSA has a solid, decades-long history not only of collaborating with law enforcement professionals to respond to and investigate intrusions and attempted attacks here and elsewhere, but also of exploring and researching new ways to protect systems--and the researchers who use them--from cyberattacks. We've led the development of MyProxy, software that enables scientific grid users to securely manage their online credentials, and GridShib, software that enables system administrators to manage user access to computational grids that span multiple institutions. We've collaborated with the Illinois Terrorism Task Force to help test and deploy secure smart-card ID technology for emergency first-responders. And NCASSR researchers at NCSA are developing Palantir, a secure cyberenvironment intended to facilitate collaborative investigations between law enforcement and IT professionals into large-scale, multi-institutional cyberattacks.
NCSA also has a long history of partnering closely with user communities to find solutions to problems of scientific and public interest, such as those in the areas of structural engineering, atmospheric science, environmental pollution, and national security. NCDIR represents a new level of partnership in the fight against cybercrime and cyberterrorism, one that actively integrates the FBI's law enforcement investigative expertise with the technology and engineering acumen of NCSA's recognized computer security and incident response personnel.