I'm really pleased about our launch meeting last night. Thank you to all who attended and also those who showed interest but could not attend.
We had roughly 45 people in attendance from 10 organizations: LASP, NDP LLC, NEON, NOAA, NSIDC, CU Boulder Research Computing, Tech-X Corporation, UNAVCO, UCAR, and UCAR/Unidata.
Ted led us off with a talk about "Convergence and Trust in Earth Space Science Data Systems": Habermann_ConvergenceAndTrust. "Convergence" refers to convergence towards standards and best practices that simplify exchange and use of data. Simplification of that aspect of science is helping us move from data to information to knowledge and finally to wisdom. Generally data producers are involved in transforming data to information, data consumers are involved in transforming information to knowledge, and it takes the community to translate knowledge to wisdom. This path leads to the question of trust: given that we're in an age where people use data and may not know who the data provider was, let alone have communicated with them, how do we say with certainity that our results are correct? This leads to the issue of trust. The topic of trust, being an over arching issue, played a big role in our subsequent discussion at our business meeting. Discussion notes from that meeting will be available soon.
Dave Fulker entertained us with a witty, erudite joke followed by a talk on "Standard for Data Exchange", practices that became "standard" by virtue of being commonplace: Fulker_StandardMechanismsForDataExchange. Dave made a comparison between the history of artifacts and what those artifacts enabled, e.g., writing instruments enabled numerical symbols, scrolls/books/libraries enabled tables and relations, etc. Currently, computers in science have enabled data management, analysis, and visualization as library functions or APIs, e.g., library functions for data formatting. Regarding data analysis and visualization, the power of a system is directly related to the generality and richness of its underlying data model. And now, the web has enabled near real time data flows and remote access to data.
These talks were relevant in our business meeting where we brainstormed about what this group might be or do, what our goals might be, who is available for contributing and what to do next. In Ted's terms, we are in a stage of ferment, trying to focus our energy as a community. Some common themes emerged, such as serving as a resource for those trying to learn how to build good systems. Another theme was trust: how is it currently earned, how can we ensure its viability in our escience world? Are there projects for us there? Notes from this section of meeting are available off the Discussion section.
We decided to meet again in month, on Wednesday, 5/18, from 4:00 - 6:00. (If anyone is available to sponser snacks or beverages for this meeting please contact me.) The first hour will be a talk. The second hour will be a business meeting. The group is tasked with identifying a speaker for the 4:00 time slot.
I really appreciate the strong interest and support I received in launching this group. I'd like to stress here again that this is a community effort. The more people contribute, the more successful we'll be as a group. The good news is that there is a good number of us such that each individual effort does not have to be huge. Please think about what you are able to contribute.
Watch our site as news about the upcoming 5/18 meeting develops.