[Rdap] Carolina researchers tapped to develop national data infrastructure

Richard Hill rhill at asis.org
Wed Sep 28 09:49:53 EDT 2011

FYI,  Dick Hill

-----Original Message-----
From: Monroe, Wanda G. [mailto:wmonroe at email.unc.edu] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 9:18 AM
To: News from SILS
Subject: [silsnews] Carolina researchers tapped to develop national data

CHAPEL HILL - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is leading a
new effort to address key data challenges facing scientific researchers in
the digital age.

The National Science Foundation has awarded nearly $8 million over five
years to the DataNet Federation Consortium, a group that spans seven
universities, to build and deploy a prototype national data management
infrastructure. About half the award will support research and development
at UNC.

The consortium will address the data management needs of six science and
engineering disciplines: oceanography, hydrology, engineering design, plant
biology, cognitive science and social science.

The infrastructure project will support collaborative multidisciplinary
research through shared collections and archives and data publication within
digital libraries.

The Data Intensive Cyber Environments research group in UNC's School of
Information and Library Science leads the consortium. The Renaissance
Computing Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill is responsible for federating the
consortium's diverse data repositories to enable cross-disciplinary
research. Federating data involves tasks such as providing a common access
interface and developing common data management policies.

The DFC will use iRODS, the integrated Rule Oriented Data System, to
implement policy-based data management infrastructure. iRODS, developed by
UNC's DICE Center and DICE researchers at the University of California at
San Diego, enforces policies as computer actionable rules to organize
distributed data into sharable collections. 
Procedures to automate data management functions are cast as computer
executable workflows. Policies control data access, sharing and archiving.
Research groups worldwide, including the NASA Center for Climate
Simulations, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the Australian
Research Collaboration Service and the Texas Digital Libraries, use iRODS
technology to manage their research data grids, implement digital libraries
and build persistent archives.

"Excelling in the digital age requires that scientific disciplines and
government agencies have the ability to manage the enormous amount of data
that are generated each day," said Barbara Entwisle, UNC's vice chancellor
for research. "Scientists can only solve the important problems of our times
if they can easily access, share, analyze and preserve data for future
researchers and students. This award is important beyond its dollar amount
because it establishes Carolina as the leader in the worldwide research
community in taming the data deluge and as the data federation hub for
collaborative research. It's a role that is essential for future discoveries
and innovations."

UNC experts will work with six National Science Foundation-supported
consortia that will use the new data infrastructure. They are:

* The Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), a program led by the University
of California at San Diego and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography,
which uses data from environmental sensors to study the ocean and sea floor.
* The Consortium of Universities for Advancement of Hydrologic Science Inc.
(CUAHSI), a University of South Carolina-led organization that works to
advance water science.
* Cyber-Infrastructure-Based Engineering Repositories for Undergraduates, an
initiative led by Drexel University, which uses digital design repositories
to enhance engineering instruction and learning.
* The iPlant Collaborative, a University of Arizona-led project developing
an integrated cyberinfrastructure to advance studies of plant biology.
* The UNC Odum Institute for Research in Social Science, which focuses on
teaching and research in the social sciences.
* The Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center, based at the University of
California at San Diego, which studies the role of time and timing in
learning to improve educational practices.

At Arizona State University, consortium researchers will collaborate on
policy-based data management systems. Duke University researchers will
develop education and outreach initiatives to broaden the consortium's

"We see this as the first step to building a data infrastructure that will
accommodate collaborative research, new educational approaches and
innovative problem solving in academic institutions, in federal agencies and
across national boundaries," said Reagan Moore, Ph.D., the consortium's
principal investigator and School of Information and Library Science
professor and scientist with the Renaissance Computing Institute. "The
infrastructure we develop will address all stages in the community-based
data collection lifecycle, from initial collection formation for a single
project, to shared collections across institutions, to formation of data
processing pipelines, to publication and long term preservation."

Co-principal investigators of the project include: Dr. Arcot Rajasekar, SILS
professor and research scientist at RENCI; Dr. John Orcutt, OOI; Dr. William
C. Regli, Ciber-U, Drexel University; and Dr. Jonathan Goodall, CUAHSI,
University of South Carolina. 

SILS faculty are a critical part of the team determining information needs
of the science partners for the development of the iRods system included in
the DataNet project. They include Dr. Helen Tibbo, alumni distinguished
professor, and Dr. Christopher (Cal) Lee, associate professor, senior
personnel on the project who will lead the Policy and Standards Community of
Practice, charged with identifying the practices and needs of the scientific
groups, and identify associated requirements for policies and processes.
Dr. Richard Marciano, professor, leads development of sustainability
mechanisms for data collections.

During the first 18 months of the grant, the consortium will focus on
federating the data management cyberinfrastructure for the OOI, CUASHI and
CIBER-U. The work will include identifying federation requirements,
integrating existing data management systems, deploying a federation hub and
developing policies and procedures for data sharing so that the data
collections of these research communities can become the foundation of a
national data cyberinfrastructure.

School of Information and Library Science contact: Wanda Monroe,
(919) 843-8337, wmonroe at unc.edu
Renaissance Computing Institute contact: Karen Green, (919) 445-9648,
kgreen at renci.org News Services contact: Patric Lane, (919) 962-8596,
patric_lane at unc.edu

Wanda Monroe
Director of Communications
School of Information and Library Science University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill
100 Manning Hall, CB 3360
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-3360
Phone: 919-843-8337
Web: sils.unc.edu
Follow us on Twitter at: UNC SILS

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