Internet2 Global Summit – Tuesday Keynote: Shirley Ann Jackson (RPI), Delivering on the Promise of Big Data and Big Discovery

Bill Hagan – Microsoft – Windows Azure – No egress charges and special pricing (Capex). Support for SAML 2.0. New Office API for O365 and Azure.

Shel Waggener – Net+ status

Net+ – 86 campuses have participated in at least one service validation. 300 campuses subscribe to services, 620 subscriptions. Tracking about $200 million in benefit.

Less than 50% of initial incubator, inquiry, and evaluation efforts reach Service Validation.

7.8 million identities in InCommon institutions. 425 Academic participants, 160 sponsored partners, 2000 registered service providers.

Dave Lambert 

I2 President’s Leadership Awards go to: Tracey Futhey (Duke), Kevin Morooney (Penn State), Brent Sweeney (Indiana). Richard Rose award goes to Pat Burns (Colorado State) .

Shirley Ann Jackson, President, RPI – Delivering on the Promise of Big Data and Big Discovery

We are generating enormous amounts of data. We expect networks to move this forward. In addition to scientific insights, we need to generate knowledge from the tremendous amount of web data – this may be the biggest challenge. Unstructured data generated by people, plus the data generated by sensors. There is work going on to create standards for sensor data. We analyze  less than one percent of the data we capture, even though the answers to many challenges live within that data. 

Jefferson Project, instrumenting and monitoring Lake George. 40 sensing platforms monitoring 25 variables, 188 million operations per second will take place when the supercomputer models the lake. 

Configurable networks and safe harbors for activity are increasingly important.

Volume and Velocity – Because of the mismatch of capacity between networks and supercomputers, researchers are still mailing data on disks. The mismatch is likely to grow as we examine important research questions and increasing scale. These challenges demand exascale computing. Greater intelligence upstream is part of the answer. RPI is using IBM Watson to analyze Lake George’s topographical features. Data challenges is also about data in motion. The question arises whether we can embed more artificial intelligence in the network itself to decide what data should be moved? Can we define software defined network to include cognitive abilities? Data is a realm where one investigator’s trash is another’s treasure. Junk DNA is a prime example, which is now seen as having significant information about diseases.

Variety – different groups of researchers collaborating in far flung collaborations. International collaborations will become even more prevalent. Researchers can’t identify which of the peers have which data, leading to duplication of effort, slowing down discovery. It should be easier to search metadata about datasets, tools, and the researchers who created them. We need a yellow pages for data.

Peter Fox (RPI) – Deep Carbon Observatory, is creating a portal to find information about data and tools. Down the road it’s possible to imagine Watson finding data relevant to specific research efforts.

Veracity – what is the provenance of the data, who is permitted to use it, correct it, add to it? Transparency about the tools will help. Can cognitive and semantic tools be embedded in the network to help with this? We are connected by our exposures and exposed by our connections. Important that greater resiliency be built into our networks. 

Walls between disciplines are crumbling – we are challenged in how we teach and research. In this era of big data and big science, universities must serve as the crossroads for this research – the new polytechnic. The most important networks in discovery and innovation are human. The greatest challenge all of us in academia face is fostering the right connections. 

Panel discussion with Shirley Jackson, Michael McRobbie (President, Indiana), and Philip DiStefano (Chancellor, Colorado, Boulder).

McRobbie – The days of Internet2 activities being unique is over – pretty much every area of scientific research is digital to a greater degree. Classicists are using vats amount of data as well as physicists – e.g. the reconstruction of Hadrian’s villa in Rome. We have to be a little humble in our understanding of researchers – they want to do their work and they want things to work, which has implications. There’s enormous imperative for Internet2 to keep things working at the cutting age. There’s no area of research that doesn’t take place in an international context – that’s been driven by the Internet. He feels particularly strongly about the preservation of knowledge, which hasn’t been given enough thought. Universities are the only institutions that have a hope of making that happen. We have an enormous responsibility to think about preservation of research data for centuries and millennia. 

DiStefano – To do interdisciplinary research one of the keys is technology at the core, with faculty from various disciplines working together. At UC trying to break down barriers and form interdisciplinary institutes.

Jackson – To solve problems in one discipline requires input from other disciplines. How do we encourage and incent people to come together, out of their comfort zone. Most researchers don’t want infrastructure that becomes a burden. We need intelligent data management culling as part of computational modeling of complex systems. 

McRobbie – Essential to ask researchers what they want. They may not be able to describe it at a technical level, but at least conceptually they can. At IU a breakthrough moment was when there were disputes at I2 about what researchers want, they got together a group of 15 researchers and asked what they want. What came out was the ability to store and preserve data. HPC and Networking were there, but being able to store data and be able to extract things out of it in the future. Need to build up capacity to store and manage tens of petabytes of data. 


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