NSF's iPlant Collaborative rebrands to CyVerse

January 11, 2016
CyVerse, formerly the iPlant Collaborative, provides data management services beyond plant sciences, and across scientific disciplines. Credit: CyVerse

The National Science Foundation's premier data management platform for the life sciences has rebranded, shedding the project's original label of iPlant Collaborative and donning the new name CyVerse. The rebrand emphasizes the project's capacity to provide data management and computation services beyond plant sciences, for collaborations across scientific disciplines.

"The CyVerse name reflects and communicates our expanded mission of enabling data-driven discovery across all of the life sciences," said Parker Antin, PhD, CyVerse's principal investigator and a professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, associate dean for research of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, a member of the UA Sarver Heart Center, an affiliate of the BIO5 Institute and president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

The official launch of the new branding happens this week, including a new home page at http://www.cyverse.org with a new look and layout and updated logo, symbolizing the fluid momentum of data streams that are transforming modern science.

The vision for the new CyVerse brand, "transforming science through data-driven discovery," invokes the transformative power of big data, computational technology and human intellect—all combined to enable scientific discovery.

"Given the UA's proud tradition of encouraging interdisciplinary work, it's not surprising that iPlant is expanding," said Kimberly Andrews Espy, UA senior vice president for research. "One of our main themes at the UA is to 'boundlessly collaborate,' and that is exactly what CyVerse is doing: breaking boundaries of data science and transforming how we do research."

The iPlant Collaborative was launched in 2008 with a $50 million grant from the National Science Foundation to provide for . The project's early success led to a renewal grant in 2013, also worth $50 million, but with the expanded directive to serve all ' needs.

"We are delighted the scientific research community has embraced iPlant and found new and exciting ways to make use of the platform, integrating it into forward-looking plans for data management and analysis," said Jane Silverthorne, deputy assistant director for NSF's Biological Sciences Directorate, which funds iPlant.

CyVerse is a continuing federation of four institutions led by the UA. Partner sites are the Texas Advanced Computing Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

"Over the past several years, we have attracted thousands of users in all areas of biology, ecology, environmental sciences, geography, climate and even space sciences," Antin explained. "As more fields of science become driven by the acquisition and analysis of very large data sets, the need for ways to store, share, analyze and archive data and results are becoming critical requirements for scientific advancement. CyVerse provides a comprehensive platform for researchers to realize their goals."

Said Espy: "The work from iPlant has been a great benefit to plant scientists across the globe, but the computational infrastructure it provides goes far beyond that specific field. CyVerse really reflects those expanded capabilities, handling the computational infrastructure for everything from astronomy to zoology."

CyVerse aims to push boundaries continually and challenge the "convention" in conventional ways of doing science.

"We are guided by several future-focused goals," Antin said. "These include enabling data-driven discovery by providing deep data integration and analysis capabilities, fostering a growing ecosystem of interoperability across computational resources and platforms, and developing a sophisticated workforce through training of data scientists.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to lead a project with the potential to transform how science is conducted and accelerate scientific discovery across all areas of science."

CyVerse is funded by NSF award numbers DBI-0735191 and DBI-1265383. Co-principal investigators include Eric Lyons and Nirav Merchant of the UA, Matthew Vaughn of Texas Advanced Computing Center and Doreen Ware of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

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