2018 Users Workshop Explores Evolving Geoscience Workflows

Fred Mosher
Discussing GOES-16 data (click to enlarge)

The 2018 Unidata Users Workshop took place June 25-28 at UCAR's Center Green facility in Boulder, Colorado. The workshop's theme — Reducing Time to Science: Evolving Workflows for Geoscience Research and Education — drew participants from across the atmospheric and other geosciences communities. Attendees took part in a series of presentations and hands-on exercises that explored approaches to data-proximate computing, uses of machine learning techniques in the geosciences, and interaction with data from new satellites and output from ensemble modeling systems.

[The] workshop was a great experience to learn new concepts and meet experienced people in the field.
William Flamholtz
Student poster session

Sixteen presenters from the broad Unidata community shared their insights on incorporating new technologies and types of data into scientific workflows across the geosciences. Sessions investigated topics ranging from the use of cloud computing systems to work with datasets without downloading them to a local computer to how evolving machine learning techniques can help researchers effectively learn from datasets that may otherwise be too large to work with efficiently. Sessions dug into the details of working with the new data streams from the GOES-16 satellite and visualizing output from ensemble models. In many cases, presenters encouraged other participants to follow along with hands-on examples and exercises.

Workshop attendees
Workshop attendees

Unidata Users Workshops are organized by the Unidata Users Committee every three years. This year's event was the 11th workshop in this series, marking 30 years since the inaugural event in 1988. The workshop attracted 76 attendees from Unidata’s worldwide community, including 12 students from across the country. There were presenters from academia, government agencies, and industry; and a varied group of attendees from far and near — this year’s farthest-flung attendee came to present work underway at the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC) in Lecce, Italy.

Thanks for making this workshop happen! The topic areas were appropriate, and felt like they were on the cutting edge. I think it's good to have a mix of accessible/tutorial-style sessions as well as expert-level sessions.

The workshop consisted of a mix of presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises designed to give participants a chance to use the technologies being discussed. “Taking it home” sessions at the end of each day gave attendees the opportunity to raise questions and further discuss the topics of the day.

All of the workshop sessions were recorded; the videos, along with pointers to code notebooks and other information from the workshop are available on the workshop web site.

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