Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

EarthCube: A Community Experiment

November 5th, 2011 / in big science, policy, research horizons, workshop reports / by Erwin Gianchandani

Amy Apon, Clemson University [image courtesy Clemson].The following is a special contribution to this blog by Amy Apon, Chair of the Computer Science Division at Clemson University’s School of Computing. Apon attended the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) EarthCube Charette this week, and she recounts her experiences below.

Earlier this week, the EarthCube community met at the first-ever EarthCube Charette in Washington, DC. EarthCube is a community process, with the goal of transforming the conduct of research by supporting the development of cyberinfrastructure that integrates data and information for knowledge management across the geosciences. EarthCube is supported jointly by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI) and the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO). Already the EarthCube social networking website has attracted more than 560 members — and activities leading up to the Charette have resulted in the submission of 111 white papers representing the contributions of dozens of leading scientific research groups, consortia, and organizations. The Charette held this past week is only a start to a process that is expected to extend for 10 years into the future.

EarthCube [image courtesy NSF].EarthCube is important to computer scientists for multiple reasons. First, the NSF’s Dear Colleague Letter (issued in June) calls out many research areas of interest to the computer science community, including high performance computing, software development, and networking. A large number of research problems of interest to the EarthCube and computer science communities are motivated by data, including common data models and data-focused methodologies; development of next generation search and data tools; and visualization, data management architectures, and massive data sets. Important unsolved problem areas include intelligent processing of data such as semantic reasoning about both image and textual data; computer vision; and fusion of data that is collected from traditional scientific communities and social media.

The computer science community may also want to pay close attention to EarthCube as a process for creating community support for strategic direction of research, for bringing together members of diverse research communities, and for identifying and creating infrastructure to support computer science research. Participants in the EarthCube Charette this week came from many earth system science disciplines, including solid earth, atmospheric, surface water movement, oceans, ground water movement, and modeling and simulation. As a computer scientist, it was impressive to me to see how different each of these disciplines are in their approach to data, applications, and community, and how well the conversation this week brought the groups together to think about the commonalities in their research. Participants also came from standards organizations, cyberinfrastructure, and governmental agencies.

The EarthCube process is continuing, with many future opportunities. More information about it is available here.

EarthCube: A Community Experiment

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