John Merrill (Chair)
Tim Spangler suggested that Unidata staff might like to weigh in with opinions on the restructuring of the COMET classroom. It seems likely that the classroom will be relocated from FL2 to FL3, so input from staff will be welcome.
Action Item 1: Unidata staff with ideas/opinions on the COMET classroom's configuration, modifications or inclusions, should send those ideas to Tim Spangler (email@example.com).
As the new director assumed the leadership position at the UPC, the FTE count was 24.25.
The UPC Management Team, made up of the 7 staff managers, is meeting weekly. Staff meetings are once a month.
Mohan noted Unidata's presence at the AGU and AMS meetings. At the AMS/Long Beach meeting Tom Whittaker (University of Wisconsin--Madison), a longtime participant in and contributor to the Unidata community received the Unidata Users Committee DeSouza award.
Other community activities by the UPC since the last meeting included:
Mohan also noted the UPC's involvement in seven proposals submitted since November 2002. At present, staff members are involved in the preparation of the Linked Environments for Atmospheric Discovery (LEAD) proposal and the follow-on to the original THREDDS proposal.
Summarizing staff status reports:
Mohan discussed the FL-4 remodeling program which will begin in about six months with all UOP programs moving to temporary space at the Center Green location. A decision on the UPC's exact location within the renovated FL-4 is expected within the a few weeks. Unidata has asked for additional space as it anticipates increased staffing resulting from proposal funds, based on the belief that the group will grow. Support and services will be uninterrupted during the transition to the Center Green location and the return to FL4.
Budget Report (Graham)
Program Administrator, Joanne Graham, reviewed the UPC's budget status. Joanne reported total expenditures across all fund sources to be ~3.8M in FY02. Projected expenditures for FY03 are ~4.2M. This projection includes 203K to fund the equipment awards program now administered through the UPC.
Three items are of particular importance: 1) all funding sources end 9/30/03. While we are fairly certain that we will continue receiving core funding at some level from NSF, we are not sure what level that will be which makes future planning very difficult; 2) we have submitted several non-NSF proposals to fund other activities, but are unsure where those stand, and; 3) while funding is adequate through FY03, it is important to note that in both FY02 and FY03 NSF core expenditures exceeded annual revenue, forcing us to rely fairly heavily on our reserves.
Users Committee (Murphy)
On behalf of Users Committee chair, Rich Clark (who was unable to attend), Charlie presented the summary of the last Users Committee meeting. The Committee has three new members effective its October meeting. They are: Chuck Graves (St. Louis University), Anton Kruger (University of Iowa), and Donna Tucker (University of Kansas). This brings the total membership to 9 members because Michael Morgan has agreed to remain on the committee while he is co-chairing the summer 2003 workshop.
Staff status reports discussion during the meeting focussed on increasing demands on UPC support staff across the board, but specifically, the LDM has become a resource for a broad community of users. Users Committee members recommended caution in use of support resources. The discussion yielded Action Item 2.
Action Item 2: The committee requests a histogram for support of various Unidata software packages to clarify and quantify support issues.
Action Item 3: The Policy Committee, specifically Chair, John Merrill, should compose a letter to Cornell's president reflecting its concern over pay-per-byte charges for computer use. The letter should be reviewed by the Users Committee at its next meeting.
Workshop planning consumed the bulk of the Users Committee meeting. The workshop committee comprises Greg Byrd (COMET), Mark Laufersweiler, and Michael Morgan. UPC staff members make up the remainder of the planning group: Emily Doremire, Joanne Graham, and Linda Miller. Under consideration is an initiative directed toward giving K-12 teachers attending the workshop the opportunity to acquire continuing education credit for participation in it; committee member Tony Rockwood is exploring that possibility with Metropolitan State in Denver, his home institution.
The NSF report was broken into three sections: FY03 Appropriation to NSF, the 2004 NSF Request, and early comments on the Unidata funding proposal.
The 2003 appropriation to the foundation was 5.34 billion dollars which represented a 11.6% increase from the previous year, but an 0.65% decrease applied across the board makes the actual increase 11% from the previous year. Although almost all directorates or major activities within the foundation experienced or will experience budget increases, the most notable is the activity, Integrative Activities, whose budget is up 38.8%. Overall the "Research and Related" budget shows an increase of 13.5%.
For FY04 the foundation is requesting $5.48 billion, an increase over 03 of $453 million or 9%. Priorities expressed by the federal government are protection from terrorism and strengthening the economy. Within NSF, Director Colwell has expressed the need for renewal of science and engineering infrastructure. Targeted for increase in the FY04 budget are mathematical sciences, human and social dynamics, tools for getting the job done and tools for investment.
Of note is that the foundation's budget will have grown 60% between 1998 and 2004 if the 2004 requested increase is realized. Also of note is that within the foundation the roughly 60% of its staff will reach retirement age in the next five years. At present, a significant amount of NSF's work is being accomplished by contract personnel.
Review Comments to the NSF on the 5-year funding proposal (Grant)
Some comments: the proposal's scope is broad, and it lacks specifics. In addition, early reviews reflect concern about actual tasks to be carried out and who will be responsible for individual tasks. Concern about the $200K/year subaward to the University of Wisconsin for satellite data was also expressed; some questions raised regarding it are: What actually is covered, and would the award pass a peer-reviewed process? Reviews received to date all reflect these concerns.
The equipment awards proposal has been stuck in the NSF grants office, but should be expedited soon.
Action Item 4: A letter to the foundation (Cliff Jacobs) containing the details of awards recipients, proposed projects, and amounts awarded should be composed by the UPC following the end of the awards for this year.
Cliff suggested that the Policy Committee and key staff members within the UPC might review the "Fair Weather: Effective partnerships in Weather and Climate Services (2003) (Rick Anthes was vice-chair) and consider this for discussion at a future meeting.
Action Item 5: Key staff members in the UPC need to familiarize themselves
with "Fair Weather: Effective Partnerships in Weather and Climate Services
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10610.html. (Click on "read it online".)
Action Item 6: The UPC should include a "Broader Impacts"
(of the program) section on its web site (linked from the home page). Among
other information included
therein, sites might be encouraged to contribute innovative uses for Unidata software and tools.
The report focussed on four main points: NOMADS, NEXRAD, CLASS, and Scientific Data Stewardship.
Limited NOAA funding for FY03 has slowed NCDC's progress in NOMADS development, but providing access to NWP and GCM data remains a priority. Several NOMADS servers are working with THREDDS and OPeNDAP. A fall NOMADS workshop is under consideration .
NCDC receives WSR-88D Level II data from 120 NWS, 12 FAA, and 26 DODS sites on tape or online while fifty-nine (possibly 61) NEXRAD sites are electronically transmitting data to NCDC in near- real-time with capture rates of 95%.
CLASS (Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System) goal is to provide an online Web center for large archived data sets including satellite, NPOESS, EOS, radar, and in situ among others. At this time GOES data from October 1997 are available.
SDS (Scientific Data Stewardship) is an integrated suite of functions to preserve and exploit the full scientific value of NOAA's environmental data. It is approaching data archiving from a rigorous quality control perspective. At this time the initiative is trying to build the "climate standard reference data sets." Incorporating THREDDS standards will be considered.
Though unable to attend the meeting, Martha Maiden provided a comprehensive presentation.
THREDDS Status and Proposal (Domenico)
Progress in developing THREDDS catalog servers and analysis and display tools includes:
Contacts with the ESRI community have yielded an expression of their increased interest in working with UCAR and the atmospheric sciences community.
Due date for renewal proposal for the next phase of THREDDS development is April 21, 2003; Unidata will submit the optional Letter of Intent which is due March 12, 2003. The proposal will be submitted to NSDL in the collections category in response to RFP 03530.
Funding Proposal Discussion (Mohan)
In further discussion of the 5-year funding proposal, Mohan noted that written responses to reviewer comments will not be required. The Policy Committee will play a role in prioritization and other decision making.
State Level Budget Crisis (Murphy)
The crisis affects all public institutions that will suffer because of scarcity of funds. Among other difficulties, sites will experience varying degrees of difficulty in accessing data. Some ideas on coping with these problems:
- Unidata could facilitate ways to leverage and share resources among community members. Hardware sharing: Is there any way hardware no longer needed by one site could be shared with another site. (The ability to do this apparently varies among community members.) System Administration sharing: could Unidata dedicate a part of an Administrator's time to community support in this arena?
- Jack Fellows will put this issue on the URC agenda. The Unidata Policy Committee might also be involved.
- Query the User community to determine the magnitude and impact on the community. This would serve two purposes: make the UPC aware of the community's needs and make the community aware of Unidata's concern in this problem.
Action Item 7. An e-mail (composed by C. Murphy) will be sent to all-community seeking input from community members regarding the budget crises presently facing publically-funded universities.
Linda brought the committee up to date on WSR-88D Data Availability.
Distribution of Level II data was announced at the AMS Annual meeting in Long Beach. This effort will be underway in 6 months. Level II data is important to the Unidata community because it provides full resolution digital data valuable for research, NWP, WRF model development (data assimilation), and for some commercial applications. NWS-delivered data will be available with a 60-second (or less) latency.
The CRAFT project, initiated in 1999, demonstrated real-time data compression and transmission for multiple radars. Its radar network is now at 61 radars. NWS distribution would leverage from existing architecture using ROC/NWS active CRAFT stakeholders.
Pros of UPC involvement in the CRAFT/NWS effort are:
Cons of UPC involvement are:
Tim Spangler speculated that Radar and Level II data could be the topic of COMET's University Faculty workshop in 2004.
Tim Killeen, NCAR's director, provided a summary of recent NCAR activities:
Last update: 12-may-03 2:36 PM