[CSG Spring 2008] Cyberinfrastructure Workshop – Bamboo Project


I’m in Ann Arbor for the Spring CSG meeting. The first day is a workshop focusing on cyberinfrastructure issues.

The NSF Atkins report defines ci as high perf comp; data, information; observation, measurement; interfaces, visualization; and collaboration services. Today will concentrate on the last two.

The workshop agenda will cover interdisciplinary science; virtual organizations; visualization; mapping scientific problems to IT infrastructures; and getting CI funded.

Chad Kainz from University of Chicago is leading off, talking about the Bamboo Planning Project. The Our Cultural Commonwealth report from ACLS served the same kind of function in the humanities that the Atkins report did in the sciences.

Chad starts off with a scenario of a faculty member in a remote Wyoming institution who creates a mashup tool for correlating medieval text with maps, and publishes that tool, which gets picked up for research by someone in New Jersey, where it is used for scholarly discourse. The Wyoming faculty member then uses the fact of that discourse in her tenure review.

What if we could make it easier for faculty to take that moment of inspiration to create something and share it with others? How do we get away from the server under the desk and yet another database?

How can we advance arts and humanities research through the development of share technology services?

There are a seemingly unending number of humanities disciplines each with only a handful of people – you don’t build infrastructure for a handful of people. One of the challenges is how we boil this down to commonalities to enable working together. Day 2 of the Berkeley Bamboo workshop showed that unintentional normalization will lead to watering down the research innovations. The next workshop will start by trying to look at the common elements.

About eighty institutions participating in the first set of workshops.

One idea is to have demonstrators and pilot projects between workshops to test ideas, explore commonalities, desmonstrate shared services, and experiment with new application models. There is one project exposing textual analysis services from the ARTFL project that will probably be the first example.

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