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Archive for January, 2012

My First AGU Experience

January 30th, 2012

(This post was supposed to be posted a month ago. But I had some trouble accessing the TW weblog website when I was in China, so I have to post it now after I came back to Troy.)

AGU 2011 Fall Meeting was the first time I went to an academic conference. I was very excited when I learned I’ve got such an opportunity. My goals were to present our poster, to check out what it is like in such a conference, and to have an idea about what other people are doing in the Informatics area.

My poster was about the work with Eric Rozell on the temporal metadata modeling in VSTO. I presented its motivation and methodology to several people, and it certainly drew some interest. Our approach has been viewed as an effective way to deal with a large amount of data and to improve reasoning and searching capacities. It was suggested that a similar technique (in the sense of including the temporal range for a dataset to a granularity of days using time:DateTimeInterval) has been used for data indexing in relational databases in NASA. In terms of the presentation, I think putting our posters, publications, and demos into flash drives and distributing them to people was a very good idea. It greatly helped the interested audiences to understand our work more afterwards.

There were many other interesting work across a couple of sessions. For example, Nicholas Del Rios etc. from University of Texas at El Paso presented a semantic and provenance aware visualization framework (VisKo) that links data with visualization processes. It has been used to visualize data on behalf of Giovanni. It is able to capture data processing provenance and visualization provenance in PML. Besides posters, I also went several talks from different sessions. Though I failed to connect most of them to my research work, I thought it was nice to hear about what other people have been working on.

Another output for me was to meet people in the Earth Science and Informatics areas. Although the names I could remember were limited, what I saw was they are a group of people who show enthusiasm about their work. They believe in what they are doing and have the confidence in the accomplishment their work will bring. I really look forward to working with many of them.

To sum up, this was a great experience for me in the beginning stage of my Ph.D. career.  Next time I will try to meet and talk to more people, and get more feedback about my own work.

 

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Greg

January 14th, 2012

It was with great sadness that I learned yesterday of the passing of my friend and colleague, Greg Leptoukh.  Greg was a physical scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and a coordinator of the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Federation Information Quality cluster.  Greg was dedicated to leveraging information systems to improve the usability of data for scientists; reducing technical barriers for data use and improving user comprehension of data generation and use.

I had the pleasure to work with Greg on the Multi-Sensor Data Synergy Advisor (MDSA) a prototype semantic extension to the already successful Giovanni online data anaylsis tool.  Giovanni has proven to be a successful tool for reducing the technical barriers in science data processing, analysis, and visualization and information provided through Giovanni has played a role in over 400 science publications to date.  With MDSA, Greg intended to show how Giovanni could be instrumented to provide provenance, quality, and expert knowledge about data to interested users.  Greg was extremely enthusiastic about the potential of semantic technologies to power these enhancements; ontologies to describe concepts important to data generation and use and rules to expose and explain scenarios that may lead to misunderstood analysis results.  I will always admire Greg’s enthusiasm for what we had been able to accomplish, and what we would be able to accomplish in future projects.  Greg clearly saw what were were doing as a means to empower scientists, a noble goal if ever there was.

I am thankful for having had the opportunity to have worked with Greg, and incredibly sad he was not able to see the fruition of this work.

You will be missed friend.

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