RENCI sponsors discussions on data storage issues

Researchers at Triangle area universities create, process and analyze huge amounts of data every day, and managing that growing stream has become a key challenge for the knowledge age university.

As part of an effort to develop a large-scale data resource for Triangle area universities, the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) will host a series of discussions on data-related issues. The first presentation in the series will be Thursday, July 27, from 2:30 – 4 p.m. at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education, 100 Friday Center Drive, Chapel Hill. Kevin Gildea, of IBM’s Server Development Lab in Poughkeepsie, NY, will talk about IBM’s experience with large-scale data set solutions.

The discussions are part of RENCI’s collaboration with the Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Studies, Inc. (TUCASI) and the Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN) to develop strategies to meet the growing data storage, management, processing and analysis needs of faculty at Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State and North Carolina Central universities.

The collaboration is working to develop and deploy a large-scale, high performance data storage system that will include large scientific and medical data sets and interactive real-time databases. It also will explore retrieval and search capabilities that work with a wide variety of data sets and file formats.

“We are creating such large quantities of new data every day that managing it, accessing it and making sense of it has become a critical challenge,” said RENCI Director Dan Reed. “With this collaboration, we are helping researchers address a range of related issues, from managing diverse data collections to finding new ways to explore disparate data to long-term preservation of historical data.”

The discussions—to be held biweekly on Thursdays through November—aim to involve researchers in the data project by providing an open forum to discuss data-related issues, according to Reed. All presentations will be held from 2:30 – 4 p.m. at the Friday Center. Upcoming discussions are scheduled for Aug. 10 and 24, Sept. 7 and 21, Oct. 5 and 19, and Nov. 2 and 16. Details on these events will be available soon. Those interested in attending the July 27 discussion should RSVP to Michael Newton at so that organizers know how many people to expect.