The Center for Computationally Assisted Science and Technology (CCAST) is a research unit funded jointly by the U.S. Department of Energy and university allocated funds from the Provost. It is operated within the Office of the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity at North Dakota State University. The mission of CCAST is (1) to support NDSU research, (2) to spur technology-based economic development in the state of North Dakota using computational methods in areas of national and state priority including energy, transportation, precision agriculture, and biomedicine, (3) to support education and outreach activities to drive advanced computing into the mainstream, and (4) to develop a specialized high-end computing workforce in order to help preserve our nation’s superiority in computational science.
We believe that computation – the third pillar, alongside theory and experimentation, of today’s research and education enterprise – will progress to a leadership role in many areas of research in the near future. This integrated approach to modern, multi-discpilnary research is a strategic emphasis of NDSU, Consequently, our long-term vision for this Center is that it be the foremost hub in the Upper Midwest for those scientific and engineering endeavors which cannot rely on theory and experimentation alone.
We will accomplish that by developing a portfolio of service offerings. Some services will be run in-house where cost and locality benefits warrant, others will be provided through contracts and/or partnerships with other regional and national service providers -- both commercial and academic are expected. Our goal is to act as a broker between researchers and a choice of solution providers and make recommendations to NDSU researchers as to optimal solutions for their needs. The final decision, however, rests with the researcher and we will regularly monitor usage, costs and return on investment in evaluating the mix of our portfolio of solutions.