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About ICDS

A High Performance Computational Research Community

The Institute for Computational and Data Sciences is one of seven interdisciplinary research institutes within Penn State’s Office of the Senior Vice President for Research. ICDS brings researchers together to develop and apply innovative, high performance computation methods. ICDS supports faculty from dozens of departments in nearly all of Penn State’s twenty-four campuses.

Mission & Vision

Our Mission

The mission of the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences is to build capacity to solve problems of scientific and societal importance through interdisciplinary, cyber-enabled research. As computation and data science become increasingly vital modes of inquiry, we enable researchers to develop innovative computational methods and to apply those methods to research challenges. Specifically, we:

  • foster a collaborative, interdisciplinary scholarly community focused on the development and application of innovative computational methods;
  • expand participation in interdisciplinary research through strategic investments and effective outreach; and
  • provide a vibrant world-class cyberinfrastructure by maintaining and continually improving hardware and software solutions and technical expertise.

Our Vision

ICDS will expand its role as an international leader in advancing cyberinfrastructure along with computational and data-driven methods and in driving their application to interdisciplinary research. We will use our expertise coupled with our state-of-the-science research infrastructure to support cyber-enabled interdisciplinary collaborations and attract the world’s best researchers. These researchers will form a vibrant intellectual community empowered to use the latest and most effective computational methods to make transformative discoveries for science and society.

Penn State’s Research Hub

ICDS enables and supports the diverse computational and data science research taking place throughout Penn State.

Seed Grants: ICDS offers seed grants periodically to launch new areas of research; to date, ICDS has awarded more than $2 million in seed grants.

Co-Hires and Startup Packages: ICDS partners with many Penn State units to recruit talented computational and data scientists. Through the ICDS Co-Hire program, established in 2012, ICDS has jointly hired top-tier scientists in partnership with other Penn State campuses and academic colleges. ICDS now boasts 38 Co-Hires from 23 academic departments across 10 colleges. Additionally, ICDS helps to support startup packages for other faculty members joining the Penn State ranks. 

Cyberinfrastructure: ICDS operates and continues to expand a world-class high-performance computing system known as the Roar supercomputer. This valuable resource lets Penn State researchers carry out advanced simulation and statistical modeling, data analysis, data mining, machine learning, and more.

With thousands of computational cores, petabytes of storage, and a dynamic collection of advanced software, Roar gives Penn State researchers access to the massive computing resources required by today’s computational and data intensive research.

The Roar supercomputer is located in a data center operated by the Data Center Services unit of the Penn State Office of the Vice President for Information Technology.

Learn More

A Brief History of ICDS

Penn State’s Institute for Computational and Data Sciences (ICDS) has a long history of providing the computational tools and expertise to promote Penn State’s interdisciplinary research efforts.

Here’s how the Institute has grown:

  • 2011 — The Institute for Computational and Data Sciences traces its origins to 2011, when an intra-university task force was charged with developing a strategic vision for cyberscience at Penn State. 
  • 2012 — On the recommendation of this task force, the Institute for CyberScience was established in 2012 through the Office of the Vice President for Research under the direction of founding director, Dr. Padma Raghavan.
  • 2014 — Penn State Executive Vice President and Provost Nick Jones and Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey took steps to ensure that Penn State can deliver the broad spectrum of computing and data services required for advanced research. As part of this process, ICDS began to develop Penn State’s supercomputer. Today, more than 4,000 researchers and students use the supercomputer to boost their productivity and accelerate their research.
  • 2016 — Dr. Jenni Evans was appointed interim director of the institute.
  • 2017 — Dr. Jenni Evans was appointed director of the institute.
  • 2019 — The institute was renamed the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences to be more aligned with the research community.
  • 2020 — ICDS’s supercomputer gets a new name: Roar! (View video announcement)

Multi-Institute Collaborations

Our work intersects with six other Penn State institutes: