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The term "cyberinfrastructure" describes new computational environments for research and development that support advanced data acquisition, data storage, data management, data integration, data mining, data visualization and other computing and information processing services over the Internet.

Today, high performance computing resources in the region are scattered throughout laboratories, departments, schools and universities, and to a lesser extent, in various commercial environments. These resources are typically dedicated to specific projects and not generally available to others within each institution, let alone among users interested in collaborating across institutional boundaries. Consequently, they are typically under-utilized, require dedicated and expensive systems programming and administration, and need specialized spaces with adequate power, air conditioning and security to keep them running.

If interconnected, these systems could not only serve the needs of the host institutions, but could also provide capabilities to other researchers, educational programs and the technology-based business community, thereby expanding utilization and reducing overall cost for the necessary infrastructure for research in the region. The Institute believes that by sharing computational resources in an intelligent manner it will lower costs to individual users and it will expand the collective awareness and creativity of the region by promoting collaboration through increased information sharing and interaction.

To that end, the Institute is currently developing an inventory of systems, software and professional resources in the region (ref: our current survey form). The Institute intends to use this information to develop specifications for a regional computing and communications "grid," and the necessary service platform to enhance the functionality and effectiveness of researchers and educators who elect to use the network. Please refer to the Technology Infrastructure Imperatives section for more details.