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Theory & Computation Networks

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  1. Theory & Computation Networks Tom Statler, NSF/AST Thierry Lanz, NASA/Astrophysics AAAC Meeting 13 Oct 2011

  2. TCN in NWNH “A new program of Research Networks in Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics … should be funded by DOE, NASA, and NSF… support[ing] research in six to eight focus areas that cover major theoretical questions raised by the survey Science Frontier Panels. “The networks would be devoted to a …topic …ripe for a breakthrough within five years. Selection criteria would include the degree of cross-institutional synergy in the network and its planned role in training and mentoring the next generation of researchers. Funding would normally be for a five-year period…These networks fulfill a different role from the NASA Astrophysical Theory Program and the NSF AAG Program and should not be funded at their expense.” NWNH Ch. 5 AAAC

  3. Interagency Discussions • Various discussions on TCN took place in first half of 2011; those involved included Seidel, Ulvestad, Statler (NSF), Weiler, Morse, Lanz, Sparke (NASA), Turner (DOE) • DOE expressed view (e.g. AAAC May Telecon) that their existing programs already support theory & computation; participation in a new joint solicitation unlikely. • NASA – NSF discussions continued in order to define unique characteristics of a TCN program distinguishing it from existing programs. Agreed that TCN should • Advance both theoretical and computational astrophysics; • Be explicitly multi-disciplinary; and • Address workforce development in new research techniques. • How best to target specific theoretical problems and address needs of the theory/computation community is less clear. AAAC

  4. Potential AAAC Action Item • NASA-NSF MOU Addendum is being prepared that will • Request AAAC organize a workshop bringing together experts from the theory & computation community and agency representatives in order to help recommend the desirable parameters of a TCN program • Provide a means of funding this workshop • Request a report on the workshop be returned by the AAAC in the first third of 2012. • Intent is for report to inform drafting of a joint solicitation later in 2012. AAAC

  5. Questions for the Workshop • What constitutes a network? • What distinguishes interdisciplinary activities? • Should the program be restricted to certain key questions? • What are the needs for a TCN program, e.g. with respect to theory/computation balance and workforce initiatives? AAAC