What is CENTRA?

CENTRA stands for Collaborations to Enable Transnational Cyberinfrastructure Applications and refers to a partnership and evolving framework for collaborations amongst research centers, institutes and laboratories across the world.

Vision

CENTRA envisions:

  • An international community of scientists, educators, policy makers, and citizens invested in the advancement of research on transnational cyberinfrastructure and its applications
  • A transnational network of instrumented cyberinfrastructure testbeds accessible to international teams of researchers
  • A framework that facilitates the formation of long-lived collaboration teams across borders and enables their members to work together via remote communication and stays at collaborating sites.

Objectives

CENTRA currently supports collaborative cyberinfrastructure research activities designed to educate a new generation of researchers who are technically and culturally competent to engage with international scientific networks. Two intertwined transformative global trends motivate the scope of technical research activities. One is the emergence of software-defined cyberinfrastructure, starting with networking components followed by compute and storage hardware and extending to middleware and application-software layers. The second trend is the emergence of data and software that can be used to help understand and solve problems of regional or global nature. These trends are intertwined because software-definition can enable heterogeneous transnational cyberinfrastructure and applications to interoperate and integrate and, conversely, the characteristics and requirements of transnational cyberinfrastructure and applications determine the kinds of software-definition that need to be implemented. The confluence of these two trends creates many novel research questions and disrupts many established IT solutions adopted for problems of local or national scope and homogeneous cyberinfrastructures whose IT stack components have a static nature with respect to their configuration and control. This project pursues the rigorous understanding and solution of these scientific problems via international collaborations which bring out real-world contexts of transnational applications and create transnational cyberinfrastructure instances where researchers get practical insight. Currently, the broad application domains of interest are disaster management, environmental modeling and smart and connected communities.

Mission

CENTRA’s mission is to

  • Harness software-defined technologies to address transnational societal needs in domains that include but are not limited to disaster management, environmental modeling and smart and connected communities.
  • Advance the science needed to design and use these technologies to build effective and efficient transnational IT systems
  • Train the next generation of junior researchers and innovators to work in transnational settings through
    • Convening experts in workshops to identify solutions to key problems.
    • Providing junior researchers an immersive experience in collaborative, multidisciplinary teams that address the transnational problems (and provide them opportunities of entrepreneurial experiences).
    • Facilitating the use and development of prototypes and testbeds to demonstrate solutions.

Advisory Board

  • Maxine Brown, Director of UIC Electronic Visualization Laboratory
  • Charlie Catlett, Senior Computer Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago
  • William Chang, Special Advisor for the Asia Pacific Program, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, University of Hawaii System
  • Julio Ibarra, Assistant Vice President for Technology Augmented Research, Florida International University
  • Glenn Ricart, Founder and CEO of US Ignite

Collaborators

CENTRA engages international entities in collaborative research activities in several ways. Institutional members provide access to facilities and testbeds to host researchers and enable experimental work. Individual researchers who belong to member institutions, or are invited by these institutions, can participate in CENTRA projects. Current institutional members are the Advanced Computing and Information Systems (ACIS) laboratory of the University of Florida, the Center of Excellence for Cyber-Enablement of Applications (CECEA) in Taiwan and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technologies (NICT) in Japan. Researchers who have accepted invitations of interest in participation in CENTRA activities are from a growing number of countries which include the following: Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and USA.

Funding

CENTRA is funded in the USA by the US National Science Foundation (NSF). CENTRA partners include the Center of Excellence for Cyber-Enablement of Applications (CECEA) in Taiwan funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of Taiwan, and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technologies (NICT), Japan.

Contact

For more information about CENTRA or to express an interest in collaborating, please contact us via email at centra@acis.ufl.edu.