This article is published in the May 2006 issue.

Computing Community Consortium (CCC)

The time has come for the computing research community to unite in identifying and formulating large-scale research infrastructure needs that are critical to U.S. competitiveness in Information Technology.

On March 10, 2006 the National Science Foundation (NSF), Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) released a solicitation1 calling for the computing research community to unite in the establishment of a Computing Community Consortium (CCC). The consortium is expected to be broad-based, with member institutions with strong research track records in computer science and engineering. CCC members are not individuals, but rather are comprised of higher education institutions, private and public sector organizations, and industry. CISE will support the CCC in facilitating the conceptualization and design of promising infrastructure-intensive projects identified by the computing research community as scientific “grand challenges” in computing. The CCC will solicit broad community engagement in the identification of compelling research agendas and related shared-use infrastructure requirements.

One of the first responsibilities of the CCC will be to guide the design of the Global Environment for Networking Innovations (GENI). The computing research community is already engaged in the conceptual design of GENI under the leadership of a planning group.2 GENI is a facility concept3 that will explore new networking architectures and distributed system services at scale. GENI complements ongoing CISE research investments in networking, distributed systems and other areas. The current “straw man” design of GENI is available at

An informational meeting and webcast was held on April 3, 2006 at NSF to help clarify CISE’s goals and expectations for the CCC. A number of workshops on GENI have taken place, and the first Town Hall meeting was held on March 10, 20064 in Arlington, VA. Additional Town Hall meetings are currently being planned. The NSF CISE web site will provide information on past and upcoming meetings.


1 NSF Solicitation 06-551, entitled “Computing Community Consortium (CCC): Defining the Large-Scale Infrastructure Needs of the Computing Research Community.”
2 The GENI Planning Group Members (
3 March 2006 CRN article entitled, “GENI and Your Research” (
4 National Science Foundation First Town Hall Meeting on GENI – Global Environment for Networking Innovations (


Cheryl Albus is a Staff Associate at NSF’s CISE Directorate

Computing Community Consortium (CCC)