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American Geophysical Union Informatics

December 22nd, 2014

A held post from last year – just releasing it….

I’ve  lost count of how many AGU meetings I’ve been to, except for knowing that this was my 11th consecutive year to the Fall Meeting in recent times. I am thinking about this since I also received my 25th year AGU pin this year. Ouch. To say there was a lot going on at AGU, is like saying it gets busy around the shops during the holidays. So, it was an average year for me in terms of length of day and tiredness, etc. Each year, I have at least one stand out memory. This year it began with the number of colleagues from solar and space physics that I bumped into (and remembered and they remembered me) and had very interesting and relevant conversations with (about software, and data, and science). Next in line was Simon Cox’s Leptoukh lecture – an excellent tour de force to demonstrate what taking a few steps back and conceiving a core observations and measurement model can do to impact a significant number of application fields. Well done mate. The RPI Tetherless World contributions were (again) very strong – to see what I mean – take a look at: http://tw.rpi.edu/web/event/AguFallMeeting2013. My appreciation goes to Patrick, Marshall, Yu, Linyun, Evan and Massimo for your efforts – the booth, the posters, the talks – (and Jin, Han, John, and others left back on the ranch) – all provided an excellent showcase of our (RPI/TWC) collective work. Now, on to the science – informatics to be specific in all its discipline-specific forms – the Special Focus Group ESSI (essi.agu.org) is thriving with increasingly diverse participants and new faces appearing each year. As far as topics, I’ll spare you all a word cloud but “Data” was the word. The other word was, well, “Big” – in the sense that a number of sessions succumbed to Big Data (or at least the Era of Big Data, one phrase I prefer)… and more than just informatics; Union, Education, Global Environmental Change, … Thus, I’m okay with that. With a meeting that big science highlights are hard to capture in a shortish blog.   Having been around long enough, it is normal (or even required) for me to be critical of certain aspects of the meetings logistics/ organization as they affect people and the efficacy of the scientific exchange itself. I have shared those concerns as well as the positive aspects to the appropriate people/ committees. If any of you wish to pass your observations (positive and otherwise) to me, I will pass them on. One thing I cannot let pass is the new AGU data policy that was approved and pre-released during the meeting. I am sure that there will be some noise about this in the days to come.

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