This year's annual American Meteorological Society meeting, was held January 22-26 in Seattle, Washington. We were happy to see many of the Unidata community members participating in the meeting at our booth in the exhibit hall, and to meet so many prospective community members at the AMS Student Conference.
With so much going on at the conference, we can't cover everything here. Instead, we present some highlights as recalled by UPC staff members who attended.
16th Student Conference
The 16th AMS Student Conference had more than 700 attendees. As in recent years, Unidata had a table set up for the Student Conference Career Fair, held Saturday and Sunday evenings and Monday before the main conference exhibition hall opened. Unidata's table attracted many visitors, with students interested in data and software available from Unidata as well as Unidata's Summer Internship program. (If you're interested, there is still time to apply.)
The Symposium on Advances in Modeling and Analysis Using Python, now in its seventh year at the AMS annual meeting, was once again very well attended. Unidata's Ryan May, who is the lead developer on the MetPy project, presented the symposium's keynote address to a standing-room only crowd. Says Ryan, “Python's popularity seems to have grown further; almost everyone I talked to (an admittedly biased sample) were using it or had plans to learn.” (You can find a recording of Ryan's keynote talk on the conference web site.) Other presentations by Ryan and UPC developer Julien Chastang were also quite popular.
One event of special interest was the AMS Short Course on Interacting with Radar Data in The Cloud. This workshop focused on getting attendees up an running using Jupyter notebooks interacting with NEXRAD data available in Amazon's cloud-based storage. According to Ryan (who somehow found time to help out at the workshop alongside his other presentation duties), “ Attendees seemed to enjoy getting hands on setting up an AWS instance and running their own jupyter notebook server, as well as playing with radar (and other) data using Python.”
You're probably aware that Unidata has been working with the National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) to make the Weather Service's next-generation Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) available to the university community. While the system was desiged for use at NWS Weather Forecast Offices and National Centers, Unidata has been working with the system's primary developers to create a configuration better-suited to use by university educators and researchers. Unidata's version of the client software can run on relatively modest computing equipment; Unidata has also made it possible for non-NWS users to gain testing access to an AWIPS Environmental Data Exchange (EDEX) server running remotely in the Microsoft Azure cloud, removing the need to configure the AWIPS data server before even trying out the client software. More than 60 universities have installed Unidata's version of AWIPS, and many of them are also using the cloud-based EDEX server.
Catching Up With the Community
As always, AMS was a great time for Unidata staff to interact and catch up with community members. Unidata's booth on the exhibition floor was busy, and there were many productive conversations with friends and colleagues. Unidata staff came away from the AMS annual meeting impressed by the camaraderie and fascinating research being done by Unidata community members and the geoscience community at large.
If you missed the meeting, or just missed some of the many presentations given by Unidata folks this year, you can find the abstracts in the schedule in the Unidata Staff at AMS 2017 Meeting post on the News@Unidata blog.