With every investment, there is an expected return. For the National Science Foundation (NSF), the eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) was an opportunity to invest in advanced computing and cyberinfrastructure at the national level. Created in 2011 through an initial $125M grant from the NSF and renewed in 2016, XSEDE provides advanced cyberinfrastructure resources and services in support of research institutions across the United States. The XSEDE Return on Investment study began as a way to quantify XSEDE’s value to the nation and assure the NSF that its investment is sound. The study, which began as a small, unfunded initiative in 2014, has expanded every year since, and in 2019, Indiana University received formal funding from the XSEDE project in recognition of its expertise in evaluating high performance computing (HPC) projects and initiatives.
Data has been collected since 2014 and has been expanded each year to represent all areas of the XSEDE project. The current results encompass data from 2015 to 2019 and show that the average XSEDE ROI proxy value is 1.46, meaning that relative to what it would have cost to purchase the services provided by XSEDE at reasonable market rates (proxy), XSEDE remains a very good investment for the federal government. PTI staff are now the U.S. leaders in publishing peer-reviewed papers about return on investment of cyberinfrastructure projects, with five publications and two papers accepted for publication later this year.