Everything happens in space and time. From natural disasters to human catastrophes; from public health to energy sustainability; from urban growth to food security; 21st-century challenges call for a deep understanding of how the phenomena are linked in space and time. Solutions to these grand challenging issues require trailblazing new thinking, methodology and tools, integrating natural sciences, social sciences, earth sciences and biosciences.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry & University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) Program funded three universities to establish the I/UCRC for Spatiotemporal Thinking, Computing, and Applications in 2013 to research potential solutions to address such challenges. University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), George Mason University (Mason), and Harvard University each takes the leadership in thinking, computing and application respectively. Numerous government and industry sponsors are included as partners in the research.
The center is targeted to build the national and international spatiotemporal infrastructure to advance a) human intelligence through spatiotemporal thinking, b) computer software and tools through spatiotemporal computing, and c) human capability of responding to deep scientific questions and grand engineering challenges through spatiotemporal applications.