NSF awards $9 million for middleware development

Twenty teams will share a $9 million award from the National Science Foundation to develop next-generation computer middleware, the agency announced Sept. 15.

The awardees "are developing the shared cybertools that will help define the cyberinfrastructure of tomorrow," said Peter Freeman, head of the agency's computer and information sciences and engineering directorate.

The awards are made as follow-on work to several 2001 awards to develop middleware. That year, NSF awarded $12 million to create new network services.

In this effort, NSF has funded work in portals, collaboration tools, software libraries and middleware for grid computing platforms, an emerging platform for sharing computer-processing resources over the network. Middleware is software that connects multiple applications together.

Award winners for this round include the Open Grids Computing Environment, a consortium to develop grid portals led by the Indiana University. This team includes the universities of Michigan, Illinois, Texas and Chicago.

The University of Wisconsin was awarded a grant to expand middleware testing. Another Indiana University led-team was funded to develop standard grid middleware architecture to allow researchers to access scientific instruments across a network.

Other awards were made to the Grid Research Integration Deployment and Support Center, comprised of the University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute. This center will develop an integrated national middleware infrastructure for science and engineering applications.

More information about NSF's middleware effort may be found at www.nsf-middleware.org.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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