SAA award winning book has RENCI, UNC connections

The Waldo Gifford Leland Award is presented annually by the Society of American Archivists (SAA) to an author or authors in recognition of “writing of superior excellence and usefulness in the field of archival history, theory, or practice.”

It’s an achievement worth bragging about, and this year, bragging rights belong to Philip C. Bantin, director of the archives and records management specialization at Indiana University, as well as to multiple chapter authors, including a team from RENCI, UNC-Chapel Hill and Harvard University.

The SAA describes Bantin’s award-winning book, Building Trustworthy Digital Repositories: Theory and Implementation as “a comprehensive look at the state of long-term preservation of and access to digital records.” The book, published last year, includes contributions from 41 international experts who discuss theories and offer practical guidelines relevant to all phases of the digital preservation lifecycle. Eleven authors from RENCI, the Odum Institute for Social Science Research, other UNC departments and institutes, and Harvard contributed a chapter on repository implementation called VISR: The Virtual Institute for Social Research. The chapter is a case study of VISR, a secure cyberinfrastructure for sharing, analyzing and storing social science data established by RENCI and the Odum Institute. It was based on work led by Odum Institute Director Tom Carsey, one of the chapter’s lead authors.

The Waldo Gifford Leland Award, established in 1959, takes its name from an American archival pioneer who played a central role in establishing the U.S. National Archives and served two terms as SAA president during the 1940s. As the SAA Award Committee noted, “Pulling together many different contributors into a cohesive volume is no easy task, but Bantin manages to accomplish just that to produce a work that is very relevant to the challenges all archivists face today with the massive amounts of digital records that are part of repositories both large and small.”

Congratulations to Prof. Bantin and a shout out to the team at Odum, UNC, RENCI and CMU who helped make this book a success. In addition to Carsey, they are: Stan Ahalt, RENCI director and professor of computer science at UNC-Chapel Hill; Jay Aikat, RENCI COO and a computer science research associate professor; Dan Bedard, former executive director of the iRODS Consortium; Margaret Burchinal, senior scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, Tom Carsey, director of the Odum Institute; Thu-Mai Christian, research project coordinator at the Odum Institute;  Jonathan Crabtree, Odum’s assistant director for cyberinfrastructure; Nancy Dole, deputy director of research services at the Carolina Population Center; Howard Lander, RENCI senior research software developer; Latanya Sweeney,  professor of government and technology in residence at Harvard University; and Mary Whitton, former senior project manager at RENCI and a computer science research associate professor.

The book is available through Amazon, Google Books, and its publisher, Rowman & Littlefield.

For more information on the Virtual Institute for Social Research, check out our RENCI white paper.

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25th GENI Conference looks towards the future of advanced networking

The 25th GENI Engineering Conference hosted by Florida International University in March provided an excellent forum for over 100 participants from industry, academia and government to come together and discuss a variety of issues relevant to testbeds for at-scale experimentation in networking and distributed systems. Topics discussed included:

  1. Interoperability between GENI and other U.S. and international infrastructures;
  2. Enhancements and new directions for the GENI infrastructure in order to support future needs of the networking, distributed systems, and cloud computing communities and to attract research from other communities;
  3. Research and education activities currently underway on GENI; and
  4. GENI transition activities that are underway.

RENCI was an active participant in the conference with a plenary session presentation by Shannon McKeen, director of membership and engagement for the RENCI-managed National Consortium for Data Science. McKeen reported on the mission, structure and operations of the newly formed Future Cyberinfrastructure Consortium (FCIC), the community consortium set up to support GENI. He explained the FCIC’s goal to design, deploy, operate, sustain, and evolve an advanced distributed cyberinfrastructure to support education and multiple heterogeneous research test beds addressing grand challenge questions important to science and society. His session also focused on potential membership categories, a broad governance vision, the role of data science and a consortium five-phase evolution process. This plenary session can be found here.

RENCI’s Paul Ruth (left) and Anirban Mandal (second from right) talk to participants at the GENI Engineering Conference.

Anirban Mandal and Paul Ruth, RENCI researchers who are part of the DoE-funded Panorama project led by the Information Sciences Institute at USC, presented a Panorama-based demonstration and were named second runner up among all demonstrations presented at the conference. The title of their demo was Data Flow Prioritization for Scientific Workflows Using a Virtual SDX on ExoGENI. They presented a novel and dynamically adaptable networked cloud infrastructure driven by the demands of a data-driven scientific workflow. The demo also showed how a virtual Software Defined Exchange (SDX) platform would instantiate on ExoGENI, a widely distributed networked infrastructure-as-a-service (NIaaS) platform, and provide additional functionality for management of scientific workflows. One of the key features of this demo was showing how the tools developed in the DoE Panorama project can enable the Pegasus Workflow Management System to monitor and manipulate network connectivity and performance.

The schedule of the conference and the various presentations can be found by clicking here.

GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovations) is an open infrastructure for at-scale networking and distributed systems research and education that spans the U.S. For more information, visit the GENI website.

–By Deepti Kumra, RENCI Student Intern

Fourth annual Data Matters™ Short Court Series offers a wide range of topics for 2017

Calling all researchers who manage, share, analyze and archive large or complicated data sets, business professionals struggling to stay afloat in the data deluge, data analysts looking to sharpen their skills, and students interested in the hot field of data science. The five-day Data Matters Short Course series is here to help and give you the knowledge you need to thrive in our data rich world.

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Nature article looks at consortia as a key to kickstarting open science

Note: RENCI has a successful track record in launching and sustaining consortia, including the iRODS Consortium and the National Consortium for Data Science. Now, a team of multidisciplinary, multi-institutional scientists has collected evidence showing consortia work as mechanisms that facilitate open science and data sharing. To read the full Nature article about the about their findings, click here.

Sharing research data, models and software to improve scientific reproducibility is becoming easier, however, changing the entrenched practices of the scientific community is a harder nut to crack.

In an article published March 30 in Nature, members of the Stakeholder Alignment Collaborative, including RENCI Senior Data Scientist Chris Lenhardt, point out that science, like most established institutions, finds change difficult to implement even when that change is positive. Open sharing of data and other resources, for example, can speed up the process of scientific discovery and enable discoveries to be more quickly translated into better products, treatments for diseases, and solutions to intractable problems.

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Separating the wheat from the chaff in an age of bots and trolls

In the age of ubiquitous connectivity and social media, information is at our fingertips. Unfortunately, so is misinformation and often it is hard to tell one from the other.

A recent roundtable discussion sponsored by the South Big Data Hub examined the rapidly changing landscape for building online communities, sharing information, and creating what often appears to be a groundswell of support for particular points of view. Read more…

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First Southern Data Science Conference comes to Atlanta April 7


Register now at www.southerndatascience.com

The data science community and members of the South Big Data Hub should mark their calendars for the very first Southern Data Science Conference, to be held on April 7 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina. The conference is expected to attract data science thought leaders from around the southeast and the nation and will feature speakers from innovative companies and research laboratories, such as Google, Microsoft, AT&T, NASA, Glassdoor and Groupon. Read more…

IBM exec offers tips for thriving in the digital data storm

Cognitive thinking is the key to surviving and thriving in the perfect storm of modern technology, according to IBM’s Mac Devine, who presented a National Consortium for Data Science (NCDS) DataBytes Webinar in December.

Devine, vice president and CTO of emerging technology and advanced innovation, IBM Cloud Division, said that our interconnected world composed of big data, the Internet of Things and the cloud, has created a tidal wave of data that is too large to handle using traditional methods of managing information. Cognitive thinking, or using high-level technology to comb through large sets of data with a human mindset, is one strategy for coping with what he termed a “perfect digital storm.”

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Webinar to discuss smart and connected cities

smart cities imageThe explosion of digital data means changes in how we work, play, and interact with each other and with the technologies and devices we depend on. Nowhere is that change more apparent than in the than in movement to create smart and interconnected cities.

What started as an effort to integrate multiple information and communication technologies with sensors that collect data about transportation systems, power plant usage, water supply networks, and more has evolved into a transformation of urban environments using a data infrastructure that can monitor events, troubleshoot problems, and enable a better quality of life.

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DataBridge tackles the problem of ‘dark data’

DataBridge-Logo-Final copyDataBridge, a National Science Foundation-funded project to make research data more discoverable and usable by a wide community of scientists, has the green light to expand its work into the neuroscience community, thanks to a new NSF EAGER award.

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Leading the charge in biomedical visualization

amia-logo-nobgBiomedical informatics is one of the hottest data science research fields, with scientists publishing hundreds of research papers every year that could impact how patients and doctors access and interact with medical information and the effectiveness of medical treatments.

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