Water sustainability is an urgent, complex, and transdisciplinary problem. Complex biophysical and social processes influence water use, quality, and availability. Few research areas have a greater need for modern cyberinfrastructure tools than water science, yet progress on meeting the grand challenge of water sustainability is hindered by insufficient coordination and collaboration among the exceptionally diverse research communities involved and because community-developed software and cyberinfrastructure have not been professionally designed to be interoperable, sustainable, or reusable.

This project will develop the concept of a Water Science Software Institute (WSSI) and to create a strategic plan to implement the WSSI. The WSSI mission will be to concurrently transform the research culture and the software culture of the water science community.

During the conceptualization phase of the Institute, the project will use an open community engagement process with assistance from the National Socio-environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), to involve the water science community in activities that simultaneously synthesize input for the strategic plan and serve as prototypes of the processes the Institute will use to achieve its mission. Specifically, the project will have two synthesis workshops that will define the functional elements of the Institute, a community forum that will present the Institute concept to stakeholder communities for their input, and a software prototyping activity that will demonstrate and evaluate methods for developing a culture of production-quality software engineering within the water science community. Between community engagement activities, the project will produce white papers on the elements of the Institute that will be incorporated into the WSSI strategic plan.

National Science Foundation – EAGER: Launch of a Water Science Software Institute (WSSI) (ACI-1151982), 2011-2012

Stanley Ahalt (PI)
Barbara Minsker (Co-PI)