The HPC Asia 2009 keynote speech, given by Dr. Peter Arzberger, gives us deep understanding into Dr. Arzberger’s vision for the successful integration of HPC with cross-cultural and international collaboration. He also describes the beginnings of the PRAGMA institute he started several years and currently chairs along with its organizational structure. Dr. Arzberger’s goes on to give us his insight into how to better educate students of science so that they will be better prepared to do research in the global science community.
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Part 5: PRAGMA Working Groups (cont.)
And, of course, there’s nothing like actually doing the science with the entire infrastructure in place and this represents some examples of some possible targets for neuraminidase which is the active (incomprehensible) of Avian Flu compound. We’ve actually taken this identified member of possible compounds which has now been tested in Korea and we’re still trying to pressure test it. There will be a focused workshop in the next PRAGMA meeting on infectious diseases and the cyber infrastructure. What’s interesting is that this work was initiated by an undergraduate student as part of the Pacific RIM undergraduate Experience (PRIME) program. The student spent time at CNIC in China. And so I think this goes back to what undergraduates can do quite a bit of work.
The third activity is the Telescience. There was an awful lot of interest at the time of knowing how to work on microscopes at a distance but being able to do this with sensors. Fang Pang Lin at the NCHC has really taken a leadership role in trying to put sensors in the environment. What this was able to do was to bring together ecologists with technologists to actually put some sensors on the lakes in Taiwan over the course of about eight months and actually have that data stream back. And the ecologist was quite excited because Taiwan, among the many things that it has, has typhoons and there is constant research on typhoons. Typhoons are these very episodic events that attack the eco system and ecologist are interested in understanding what the effect is and how the eco system recovers and responds to that. And what you see in this particular data from the sensor the water temperature at various steps in the water and the huge mixing effect that the wind and rain have on the lake and then the sloped recovery of that. Tim Kratz who is one of the people who is involved in this research said, “Gee, if we can connect two lakes (because we connected one in Wisconsin with the one here in Taiwan), why can’t we connect more? And furthermore, why can’t we begin to think how this technology can change both the questions that we ask regarding lake ecology but also how we work together?”
And so we set about starting an activity called Global Lake Ecological Observation Network (GLEON) that really began to understand lake dynamics by bringing together people, equipment, and resources. And we’ve also had several meetings, the most recent one being in New Zealand. And, again, I want to know that this was launched by the Telescience group. What’s really exciting, and, again, this is from the ecologists perspective whereas those of us from the IT community might not find this so interesting, is that if imagine what having ongoing sensors are for ecology..…just imagine sending a researcher out into the field every once in awhile to collect some data and then to bring it back…..it would be sort of like you wake up once a month, open your eyes, go outside, take a look, and then going back to sleep. What would your impression of this world be if you did that? And this is really a revolution that is happening in ecology with these particular sensor systems. And so we’re quite interested in putting buoys in lakes around the world and collecting data from them and really trying to understand why, for example, samples from lakes around the world are 87% super-saturated with carbon dioxide. Why is that? You cannot answer that question with one lake. You really need to have a global network to do that. And lakes may be a huge source of information for us regarding the carbon cycle. And we also now have a documentary that is now available that just aired on UCTV and is also on YouTube that really talks about GLEON and its creation.
The fourth working group is one of GEO itself. And GEO is interested in how we can bring together different remote sensing platforms and co-locate them, that is, put them on top of one another in order to get a richer set of data for any particular local. And in this case there’s been a very close relationship between the NARL, the NSPO, and AIST in Japan. They are beginning to share different types of data that you can co-register. And what we’re going to be doing and what we’ve sort of worked up to doing is that, even though GLEON came out of PRAGMA, we want to re-integrate aspects of that and now have land measurements with the satellite data. This is a very exciting discovery because it will not only help the satellite getting ground measurements but it will also give the GLEON people more information about the lakes that they study for their simulations. And another very exciting activity is the use of high definition in understanding and watching our environment that has been pioneered here at the NCHC. This is a picture of the coral reef just about an hour south of here in Kenting.