Second Half Highlights

The second half of the tour has taken us down the west coast from Seattle to San Francisco to LA, then by road through Irvine to San Diego, and back eastward through Boulder. We are now masters of the Hertz “NeverLost” satnavs! This post comes to you from rainy Washington where tomorrow we meet with NSF.

The visits continue to be hugely informative and thought-provoking, and as the trip goes on our thinking is converging and now consolidating. Our hosts have been fabulous and we have enjoyed stimulating meetings from 45 minute chats to 3 hour discussions. And somewhere in the background, when we have a moment to glance up, we’ve seen fabulous views of lakes, mountains and the ocean.

A very brief synopsis of the second half:

Monday 20th Microsoft. Hosted by Tony Hey, we spent the day in the Executive Briefing Centre being briefed executively and then briefly executing our talk. Significantly we intersected with another expedition – Prof Doug Kell of BBSRC and his officers, who were at the end of a similar tour. Check out the open source Word Add-in For Ontology Recognition and Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office 2007 And check out Doug’s blog too.

Tuesday 21st SLAC. In the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Jacek Becla introduced us to his world of eXtremely Large DataBases and the XLDB events (the 3rd workshop was held recently). We enjoyed a demo of SciDb (see Tuesday 8th in a previous post!)

Wednesday 22nd ISI.  A dynamic day of meetings (the meetings were dynamic and so was the schedule!) at the Information Sciences Institute with Yolanda Gil, Ewa Deelman, Ann Chervenak, Carl Kesselman and members of his team. Lots of examples of Computer Science coming to the aid of real users.

Thursday 23rd Irvine and UCSD. Hosted by Paul Dourish at Irvine, we had a fascinating meeting with Gary Olson, collaboratory guru and one of the editors of Scientific Collaboration on the Internet.  Then Malcolm and I forked: I stayed at Irvine to meet with Richard Taylor and see the work of Hazel Asuncion in traceability, workflows, and software architectures (software provenance is important too!); Malcolm visited Mark Ellisman of the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research at UCSD, where he spotted many microscopes and multiple ramps.

Friday 24th NCAR. Hosted by Don Middleton, we had a super day with his team in the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder (at 5400 feet!) With serious attention to data management through its lifecycle, and delivery of tools as well as data, the day was full of examples of best practice – not just in data but in teamwork.

We have meetings in Washington now and one more technical visit -to former rock star Alex Szalay.

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