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.