ICT challenges for GSS, part 1

Notes from The Thursday ICT workshop (by Patrik Jansson, 2012-11-22)

The Thursday ICT workshop theme was introduced by Ulf Dahlsten already in the plenary: “The ICT challenges to Global Systems Science”. The workshop started with Per Öster (CSC-IT, Finland) talking about e-Science and European Grid Computing. Complex science (with Global Systems Science as an example) puts new demands on ICT tools. The same questions come up: How to handle data? How to access computing resources? How to control access (easy to use authentication)? Examples of existing infrastructure: EUDAT.eu: Collaborative Data Intrastructure, EDI.eu: European Grid Infrastructure. Science gateways provide low entry threshold.

Even when the basic infrastructure is in place, there is still a lot of work needed for a new field to be well supported. And it cannot be constructed by the implementors alone – co-development is important (users + implementors). We work with the research communities to build systems which work for them.

Challenge 1: Develop “science gateways” suited for Global Systems Science.

Challenge 2: Handle the uneven access (globally) to data sets (much more is available in the developed world). We need to identify data sources and quality control of them.


Next was Vittorio Loreto (everyaware.eu) on “Turning citizens into sensors”, expanding on the earlier plenary talk. The example was: how to enhance public awareness of climate issues? (An interesting side-line: a recent paper shows that “Environmental awareness does not lead to smaller carbon footprint”.) The measurement data collection works fine (position data, sensor box for pollution measurements etc.) Challenge 3: How do we (automatically) handle unstructured input (like users recording comments, writing down their comments, etc.) in connection with the structured data?

Z. Han: We have the technology and the expertise to collect data, but management is very important. Examples from China show that many sectors collect data without releasing it to the public. Open source slogan “release early, release often” is not easy to apply to (politically) sensitive data.

Trista Patterson:
Challenge 4: How do we create communities with a joint language and trust to enable rapid feedback pre-publication?
Crowd-sourcing successes like wikipedia are inspiring but leads us to
Challenge 5: How do we get representability of the contributors (currently 87% male for example). Improving diversity is important.

Thursday ICT chairs + presenters

  • Ulf Dahlsten
    • Chair of “The ICT challenges to Global Systems Science”
    • Plenary talk: “Global Systems and The Challenges”
  • Per Öster
    • Talk: “e-Science and European Grid Computing”
  • Vittorio Loreto
    • Plenary talk: “Participation awareness and learning”
    • Talk: “Enhance environmental awareness through social information technologies”
  • Christopher Barrett
    • Plenary talk: “Simulation of Very Large Systems”

Other Thursday ICT workshop participants (incomplete list):

  • Merijn Terheggen; FactLink.com,
  • Martin Elsman; DIKU,
  • José Javier Ramasco; IFISC,
  • Trista Patterson;
  • Luís Bettencourt;

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