Centers of Excellence

SDSC has created a number of ‘Centers of Excellence’ as part of a larger strategic focus to help researchers across all domains – including those who are relatively new to computational science – better manage ever-increasing volume of digitally based information. These centers formalize key elements of SDSC’s wide range of expertise, from ‘big data’ management to the analysis and advancement of the Internet.

Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA)

Formed in 1997, CAIDA is a collaborative undertaking among organizations in the commercial, government, and research sectors aimed at promoting greater cooperation in the engineering and maintenance of a robust, scalable global Internet infrastructure. In 2014, kc claffy, CAIDA’s principal investigator and co-founder, was awarded the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Internet Award. She was recognized by the IEEE for her “seminal contributions to the field of Internet measurement, including security and network data analysis, and for distinguished leadership in and service to the Internet community by providing open-access data and tools.” 


Sherlock is an SDSC center of excellence focused on information technology and data services for the government and academia that includes cloud computing, compliance, cyber security, data management, big data, and analytics. Formed in 2013, Sherlock’s services are offered to federal, state, and local governments as well as universities nationwide.

Sherlock offers two major products: Sherlock Cloud, which provides a number of services that comply with HIPAA and NIST regulations for dealing with sensitive data. Vyloc Cloud, which provides turnkey cloud and data solutions that span the entire data pipeline by orchestrating the necessary micro-services to provide simplified, consumable services while minimizing the complexity of the various cloud offerings. 

Sherlock’s resources are physically located within the SDSC Data Center, and, where needed for redundancy, in Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. Sherlock Cloud systems interconnect with a 10Gb/s (gigabits per second) network fabric within the SDSC Data Center, and wide-area networking utilizes more than 100Gb/s of high-bandwidth connections to the Internet and research networks such as Internet2, National Lambda Rail (NLR), and the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC).

Workflows for Data Science Center (WorDS) 

Called the WorDS Center for ‘Workflows for Data Science’, this new center of excellence, formed in 2014, leverages more than a decade of experience within SDSC’s Scientific Workflow Automation Technologies Laboratory in developing and validating scientific workflows for researchers involved in computational science, data science, and engineering.

“WorDS is designed to serve those researchers at the intersection of distributed and parallel computing, big data analysis, and reproducible science, while fostering a collaborative working culture,” said Ilkay Altintas, the center’s director. “Our aim is to assist researchers in creating workflows to better manage the tremendous amount of data being generated across a wide range of scientific disciplines, from natural sciences to marketing research, while letting them focus on their specific areas of research instead of having to solve workflow issues or the computational challenges that arise as data analysis progresses from task to task.”

Expertise and services offered by the WorDS Center include:

  • World-class researchers and developers well-versed in data science and scientific computing technologies.
  • Research on workflow management technologies that resulted in the collaborative development of the popular Kepler Scientific Workflow System.
  • Development of data science workflow applications through a combination of tools, technologies, and best practices.
  • Hands-on consulting on workflow technologies for big data and cloud systems, i.e., MapReduce, Hadoop, Yarn, Cascading.
  • Technology briefings and classes on end-to-end support for data science. 

The WorDS Center is funded by a combination of sponsored agreements and recharge services.