GEON Newsletter : November 2006
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Release of Next Version of GEON Portal

GEON will release a new version of its portal in early December that will include several improved and new functionalities. This version introduces several usability improvements (gained from the related Usability workshop, held earlier in the year, as well as feedback from the community), software updates for LiDAR and SYNSEIS, and system software improvements. The resource registration process now includes a refined list of subject terms to select from, a user authorization mechanism, instructions to guide users through the registration process, as well as a request mechanism for obtaining classroom/group GEON portal accounts.

The new version of the portal requires users to be pre-approved as “Contributors” before they can register resources into the system. Existing users will be required to request “Contributor” status even if they have successfully registered resources previously. Details regarding new features included in the LiDAR and SYNSEIS portlets can be found in the “What’s New Section” of the GEON portal log-in page (https://portal.geongrid.org/).

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NEESit Beta-testing GEON Portal Infrastructure

NEESit is one of the core components of NEES (the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, www.nees.org). Funded by NSF, NEES is a shared national network of 15 experimental facilities, collaborative tools, a centralized data repository, and earthquake simulation software, all linked by the ultra-high-speed Internet2 connections comprising the NEESgrid. Together, these resources provide the means for collaboration and discovery in the form of more advanced research based on experimentation and computational simulations of the ways buildings, bridges, utility systems, coastal regions, and geomaterials perform during seismic events. The mission of NEES is to revolutionize earthquake engineering research and education. To that end, NEESit (http://it.nees.org and http://central.nees.org provide advanced IT facilities for remote access to the NEES sites, shared access to data, and other features designed to support distributed collaboration.

NEESit is currently evaluating the portal infrastructure developed in GEON, which is based on the GridSphere portal framework. An initial NEESit portal has already been deployed using this software infrastructure. The effort has been led by GEON researchers Dr. Choonhan Youn and Dr. Dogan Seber, working in close collaboration with Prof. Ahmed Elgamal (PI, NEESit) and Dr. Lelli Van Den Einde (Assistant Director, NEESit). The prototype implementation of the portal is expected to be completed by the end of this year. GEON PI Chaitan Baru serves as Strategic Advisor for Cyberinfrastructure for the NEESit project.

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GEON to Host Booth at AGU

Once again, GEON will host a booth at the upcoming AGU 2006 Fall Meeting in San Francisco, December 11-15, 2006. Project members will be at the booth (#220 in the Exhibit Hall) throughout the meeting, demonstrating the new version of the GEON portal, demonstrating resources and tools, and answering questions from the community. Please plan to come by the booth and spend some time learning about the latest project developments.

Several GEON researchers will also give technical talks on their work, with 7 related talks scheduled throughout the week at AGU. A complete list of these presentations and their scheduled times can be easily accessed at the 2006 Fall Meeting Database and searching on “GEON”.

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PRAGMA to Emphasize Geosciences Applications

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has renewed its support for a grassroots effort by U.S. and Pacific Rim engineers who develop cyberinfrastructure and software tools in tandem with application scientists who use those grids to advance 'collaborative science' research projects. NSF will provide $3.2 million over five years to the Pacific Rim Application and Grid Middleware Assembly (PRAGMA), a four-year-old initiative based at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The funding will allow PRAGMA to broaden its impact and accelerate the use and interconnection of grids being deployed around the region.

With NSF's renewed support, PRAGMA researchers plan to expand the group's activities on several fronts. They intend to build user communities in two new key application areas: geosciences, through iGEON, the new international component of GEON; and microbial metagenomics-decoding the genomes of entire microbial ecosystems. PRAGMA and GEON have already collaborated on iGEON activities in India, Japan, and China.

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Ann Q. Gates Recognized by Hispanic Business magazine’s "100 Influentials List"

Dr. Ann Q. Gates (Chair, Computer Science Department, UTEP and GEON Co-PI) was named to the "Hispanic Business 100 Influentials List" for 2006. According to the magazine, "the list spotlights extraordinary individuals chosen for their insight and drive and, most importantly for the examples they set in their communities." The categories reflect an array of professions: government, corporate, education, arts and entertainment, and other vistas. Gates was recognized for her work on the development of the Affinity Research Group model, a system designed to help retain underrepresented groups in research but has since proven to be applicable to any undergraduate who may lack the confidence to continue to graduate school.

Dr. Gates was also honored by the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at the 8th Annual Biz Tech Expo.

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GEON PI Gives Talk at Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration Colloquium

Chaitan Baru, GEON PI and Project Director, gave a talk entitled “Cyberinfrastructure for Science and Engineering Communities: The Road Ahead” at the School of Earth and Space Exploration Colloquium, held in November in Tempe. This talk provided an overview of a number of cyberinfrastructure projects and discussed directions for the future. As the early cyberinfrastructure projects mature, there are common themes in technology and project organization that emerge—as well as common challenges across projects. Chaitan discussed issues to be dealt with including supporting a centralized organization strategy with “distributed curation”, and providing access to “online” datasets and “on-demand” computing. The talk also provided an overview of observing systems projects such as NEON (www.neoninc.org) and ORION (www.orionprogram.org).

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GEON IDV and Resources Presented at EarthScope/USArray Imaging Science & Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics (CIG) Seismology Workshop

Chuck Meertens (GEON PI) and Stuart Wier (both from UNAVCO) presented an introduction to GEON resources and a demonstration of the GEON Integrated Data Viewer (GEON IDV) at the Earthscope/USArray Imaging Science & Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics (CIG) Seismology Workshop in Saint Louis, 31 October-2 November 2006 (http://www.iris.edu/workshops/CIG/). This workshop reviewed details of seismic modeling and direct imaging methods used to make images of the lower crust, the upper mantle, and CMB structures. Sessions included science and technical presentations as well as a number of extensive

hands-on tutorials. Meertens and Wier also conducted a GEON IDV tutorial (http://geon.unavco.org/unavco/tutorial/), on the following day, that was attended by more than 50 participants interested in using the tool for visualization of tomographic and geodynamic research.

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NSF This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0225673 (GEON). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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