Keynotes and plenary sessions at eResearch NZ 2013


We are pleased to confirm the following keynote speakers at eResearch NZ 2013:

J. Stephen Downie, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

J. Stephen Downie is Associate Dean for Research and a Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Downie is the Illinois Co-Director of the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC). He is also Director of the International Music Information Retrieval Systems Evaluation Laboratory (IMIRSEL) and founder and ongoing director of the Music Information Retrieval Evaluation eXchange (MIREX). He was the Principal Investigator on the Networked Environment for Music Analysis (NEMA) project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He is Co-Principal Investigator on the Structural Analysis of Large Amounts of Music Information (SALAMI) project, jointly funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the UK’s Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). He has been very active in the establishment of the Music Information Retrieval (MIR) community through his ongoing work with the International Society for Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR) conferences. He was ISMIR's founding President and now serves on the ISMIR board. Professor Downie holds a BA (Music Theory and Composition) along with a Master's and a PhD in Library and Information Science, all earned at the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.

In his presentation, J. Stephen Downie will be introducing HathiTrust Research Center and how it unlocks billions of pages for research:

This briefing will introduce the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC). The HTRC is the research arm of the HathiTrust, an online repository dedicated to the provision of access to a comprehensive body of published works for scholarship and education. The HathiTrust is a partnership of over 60 major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. HathiTrust membership is open to institutions worldwide.


Over 10 million volumes have been ingested into the HathiTrust digital archive from sources including Google Books, member university libraries, the Internet Archive, and numerous private collections. The HTRC is dedicated to facilitating scholarship using this enormous corpus through enabling access to the corpus, developing research tools, fostering research projects and communities, and providing additional resources such as enhanced metadata and indices that will assist scholars to more easily exploit the HathiTrust corpus.  This briefing will outline the mission and goals of the HTRC. It will also introduce current and planned projects, including its work on enabling the non-consumptive analyses of copyrighted materials. It will conclude with a discussion of the ways in which scholars can work with and through the HTRC.

Bill Howe, University of Washington

Bill Howe is the Director of Research for Scalable Data Analytics at the UW eScience Institute and holds an Affiliate Assistant Professor appointment in Computer Science & Engineering, where he studies data management, analytics, and visualization systems for science applications. Howe has received two Jim Gray Seed Grant awards from Microsoft Research for work on managing environmental data, and has had two papers selected to appear in VLDB Journal's "Best of Conference" issue (2004 and 2010) for work in data-intensive computing for science. Howe serves on the program and organizing committees for a number of conferences in the area of scientific data management, and serves on the Science Advisory Board of the SciDB project, a project to build a new database system expressly for science. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Portland State University, where he studied under Prof. David Maier, and a Bachelor's degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech.

During his keynote, Bill Howe will be discussing the interplay of eScience and data science at the University of Washington's eScience Institute:

The dramatic shift toward data-driven discovery in science – eScience – foreshadowed the recent emphasis on “data science” that is transforming industry. At the University of Washington eScience Institute, we see the two trends as mutually reinforcing: industry is investing deeply in new technology that can be repurposed for science, and science is training the next generation of data-savvy researchers who help advance a culture of statistical rigor.


In this talk, I'll describe some of the findings from our activities aimed at advancing and integrating both fronts. In education, we recently completed a massively open online course “Introduction to Data Science” serving over 100,000 registered students, we are bootstrapping a new Phd Track in interdisciplinary big data work, and we led the creation of two certificate programs for returning professionals. In research and infrastructure, we have taken an “everything-as-a-service” approach, deploying database, visualization, and massive-scale analytics services targeting science applications in both the head and the “long tail." Organizationally, we are launching a new “incubator” program to provide seed funding and dedicated staff for short-term, high-impact data science projects.


I'll end with some lessons learned in fostering collaboration between technologists and domain researchers, and some ideas for the future.

Plenary Talks

Rhys Francis, Director, eResearch Coordination Project

Rhys Francis will be speaking on the development of an Australian Research Informatics Infrastructure:

The Australian Government's support for the development of eResearch infrastructure capabilities is now well into its second decade. As a result of recent investments that infrastructure will expand during 2013 and 2014 to include network fibre linking all mainland capital cities, two problem focussed peta-scale supercomputers, shared use multi-petabyte  data services in each state integrated with research cloud services and overlaid by collaborative virtual laboratories. The presentation will provide a brief overview of those developments and then focus on the challenges created for institutional and research activities and the potential for a newly developing approach to research informatics.

Nick Jones, Director, New Zealand eScience Infrastructure

Nick Jones will be discussing NeSI's experience as national research infrastructure:

The New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (New Zealand eScience Infrastructure) provides High Performance Computing (HPC) and supporting services to New Zealand research communities. In the course of its first eighteen months, it has learned a great deal wishes to share some of its experiences. This presentation will provide an overview of e-infrastructure supporting the research system in New Zealand, New Zealand eScience Infrastructure’s role within that system and touch upon how that e-infrastructure system feeds into New Zealand’s innovation system as a whole.

Steve Cotter, Chief Executive, REANNZ

Steve Cotter's presentation will be focused on explaining the role of REANNZ as an instument of data-intensive science:

Today's data-intensive, distributed science model assumes the availability of high-bandwidth, reliable, feature-rich networks seamlessly interconnecting globally-distributed instruments, facilities and collaborators. The discovery of the Higgs Boson may be the first to come from an experiment for which reliable global networking was a design premise, but it certainly won’t be the last. Dozens of facilities currently under construction here and abroad make exactly the same assumption.


REANNZ, NZ's research network, will play a critical role in this nation's scientific productivity as the collection, transfer, storage, manipulation, analysis, and curation of data becomes an ever increasing part of the scientific process. This presentation will cover REANNZ's current initiatives to roll out high performance network services to New Zealand's researchers and their collaborators, as well as its plans to scale capacity to handle the relentless growth in data and meet the community's need for efficient data mobility that make NZ's computational facilities available and productive.

Invited Guests

We are delighted to be able to invite the following two instructors for the limited entry Software Carpentry Bootcamp, to help scientists build better software:

Ariel Rokem, Stanford University

Ariel Rokem is a post-doctoral researcher in the Psychology Department at Stanford University. His work focuses on biological mechanisms of human visual perception. To study this he has been using magnetic resonance imaging techniques, as well as behavioral assessments of healthy and clinical populations, pharmacological interventions, genetic testing and computational modeling. He received a PhD in neuroscience from UC Berkeley in 2010. In addition to his research, he has been a contributor to open source scientific software and taught best practices in reproducible scientific computing.

Shreyas Cholia, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs

Shreyas Cholia is a member of the Outreach, Software and Programming Group of the USA's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC). NERSC is a division of Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. He is involved with the development of several tools to boost the accessibility of high-performance and grid computing. Many of his recent contributions have been in support of the Materials Project, that he will be introducing at the conference. He holds a bachelor's degree from Rice University, where he double majored in Computer Science and Cognitive Sciences.