RENCI Director to appear on UNC-TV

RENCI’s Sharlini Sankaran, the Executive Director of REACH NC, will be speaking about the program on UNC-TV on October 16 at 3:15 p.m. She will be speaking about what  REACH NC is and why it is important.

The REACH NC program began as a way to allow North Carolina to tap into its own pool of experts and resources. It uses RENCI-developed technology to create a Web portal that enables users to search, browse and find thousands of experts and assets within North Carolina higher education and research institutions. REACH NC’s expert profiles can assist people in industry, community groups and university personnel in efforts to find information and potential collaborators for research and problem-solving.

Sharlini will also be explaining how the REACH NC system works and give some examples of success stories to illustrate to viewers how important this system is.

RENCI collaborates on award-winning paper

Paper authors (from right) Justin Zhan, Howard Lander, and Arcot Rajasekar with one of the conference's keynote speakers, Tom Mitchell of Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science.

Paper authors (from right) Justin Zhan, Howard Lander, and Arcot Rajasekar with one of the conference’s keynote speakers, Tom Mitchell of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science.

Congratulations to RENCI staff Arcot Rajasekar, Sharlini Sankaran, and Howard Lander, whom, along with other collaborators, won the best paper award at the ASE/IEEE International Conference on Big Data! The conference paper acceptance rate is  8.5%, and their paper, entitled “The data bridge: Sociometric methods for long-tail scientific data”, was one of only two winners of the award.

The ASE/IEEE Conference was held in Washington D.C. from Sept. 8-14, and brought together scientists, researchers and scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results in Advancing Big Data Science & Engineering.

RENCI helps visualize National Geographic feature story on rising seas

To create an interactive image to demonstrate the effects of major tropical storms and storm surge in the future, National Geographic magazine turned to RENCI for assistance. Senior Research Scientist Brian Blanton helped the magazine staff interpret data they received from NOAA and the Army Corps of Engineers on what Manhattan would look like if a storm the size of Hurricane Sandy hit in 100 years, when sea level could be as much five feet higher than it is now. The info graphic, which appeared online and in a center spread in the print magazine, uses data from the Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) modeling program, which was developed by the National Weather Service to estimate surge heights.

The graphic is part of a feature called “Rising Seas,” which analyzes the potential impacts and dangers of rising sea levels due to climate change. The image gives viewers a visual understanding of this hazard. The surge from Hurricane Sandy flooded many subway tunnels, knocked out lower Manhattan’s power grid, and caused widespread damage of cars and buildings. This postulated future flood would surge farther and deeper into the city, causing even greater damage unless new methods of mitigating surge effects are developed.

Check out the graphic and the full feature story here:

REACH NC named an Awards of Excellence finalist

RENCI collaborations are winning awards all over! The Research, Engagement, and Capabilities Hub of North Carolina (REACH NC) was recently selected as a finalist in the University Economic Development Association’s (UEDA) 2013 Awards of Excellence competition, in the Leadership & Collaboration category.

REACH NC is a searchable Web-based tool that allows scientists, academics, researchers and the business community to access profiles of experts at universities and research organizations across the state, in order to find people and resources needed to build research teams or to provide expert advice. The web interface compiles data from research publications, research grant awards and other sources to make it easier for faculty, university administrators, government agencies and the public to discover people with a particular expertise.

The REACH NC team, includes Sharlini Sankaran (REACH NC Executive Director) and  Monica Schledorn, who work closely with David Knowles, RENCI’s director of engagement and economic development. RENCI data experts built the data backbone for REACH NC and developed protocols for user access and data management and storage. RENCI staff also designed and implemented the Web front end for the tool. Hong Yi, a RENCI senior research software developer, created information visualizations that group experts by their areas of expertise and professional backgrounds.

Sankaran will give a presentation on the project at the UEDA Annual Summit in Pittsburgh in October. Summit participants will evaluate the finalists and select a winner in each award category.

We wish our team all the best of luck!

RENCI staff to present at International Conference

Two manuscripts by RENCI staff have been accepted for presentation at the 4th annual ACM International Conference on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Biomedical Informatics (ACM BCB). The papers are: “Visual Analytics to Optimize Patient-Population Evidence Delivery for Personalized Care” (authors include RENCI’s Ketan Mane, Phillips Owen, Charles Schmitt and Kirk Wilhelmsen); and “Predictive Model of the Treatment Effect for Patients with Major Depressive Disorder” (authors include Ketan Mane).


ACM BCB is the main flagship conference of ACM’s Special Interest Group on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Biomedical Informatics and will be held in Washington DC from September 22-25. It provides a forum for interdisciplinary research encompassing disciplines such as computer science, mathematics, statistics, biology, bioinformatics, and biomedicine.

We’re excited to see how these presentations go!

Congratulations Mary Whitton!


Congrats to RENCI Senior Project Manager Mary Whitton for winning the Outstanding Service Award at the USA SIGGRAPH 2013 International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.

Now in its 40th year, the SIGGRAPH conference (sponsored by The Association for Computing Machinery) is the premier international event on computer graphics and interactive techniques. This year’s conference, held in Anaheim, CA, July 21-25, drew more than 20,000 professionals from five continents, including experts in science, art, animation, gaming, interactivity, education, and the web. It is one of the most prestigious forums for computer graphics research, digital art, and scientific visualization.

The awards presentation was held on the first day of the event to honor individuals with exceptional achievements in computer graphics. The Outstanding Service Award recognizes a career of outstanding service to ACM SIGGRAPH by a volunteer over a significant period of time. The criteria used to evaluate the award include importance of the service and the degree of sacrifice incurred by the volunteer.

Go Mary!

RENCI experts attending GENI Conference

Several members of RENCI are proudly representing us at the National Science Foundation GENI Engineering Conference in Madison, WI July 21-23. Bonnie Hurst, Ilya Baldin, Shu Huang and Yufeng Xin are at the Conference to promote ExoGENI, a nationwide test bed for networking and networked cloud computing involving RENCI, Duke University, and IBM.

ExoGENI is funded by the Project Office of the NSF Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI), a virtual laboratory which intends to open up new areas of research at the frontiers of network science and engineering by enabling deep programmability throughout the network, promoting innovations in network science, security, technologies, services and applications, and providing collaborative environments to catalyze innovation.

ExoGENI links GENI to two advances in virtual infrastructure services: open cloud computing and dynamic circuit fabrics. It orchestrates a federation of independent cloud sites across the U.S. and links them to other GENI resources. At the conference, these RENCI experts will hold tutorial sessions on ExoGENI, give live demos, and answer questions on how researchers can obtain ExoGENI for their own work.

Check out exactly what our experts will be doing at the Conference here!