AMS 2023 Conference Highlights from the Unidata Staff

AMS 2023 Annual Meeting

This year's annual American Meteorological Society meeting was held 8-12 January 2023 in Denver, Colorado. In addition to the conference being a hybrid event with thousands physically in attendance (which felt a bit odd, after the last few years), the location being so close to the Unidata Program Center in Boulder meant more than the usual number of staff members were able to attend as presenters of talks and posters, conveners of sessions, and facilitators of workshops and short courses for students, educators, and researchers. Staff members also spent time meeting community members in the new exhibit hall booth bringing together a variety of UCAR and NCAR programs in one space. As always, we were also glad 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 from the week's events.

22nd Student Conference
AMS 2023 Career Fair
Talking with students at the AMS 2023 Student Career Fair. (Click to enlarge.)

In keeping with our pre-pandemic tradition, Unidata had a table set up for the Student Conference Career Fair, held Saturday and Sunday evenings 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 . We were fortunate that two of our 2022 summer interns, Hassanpreet Dhaliwal and Rhoen Fiutak, were able to join Program Center staff at the table to talk with students and describe their experiences working at Unidata.

Unidata (and some former summer interns) had more going on at the Student Conference this year than meeting students at the Career Fair. Sunday afternoon saw a hands-on Python Users’ Workshop that allowed beginners and experts alike to enhance their ability to find, analyze, and explore data using Python tools. The workshop used NSF Jetstream cloud-computing resources organized under the Unidata Science Gateway to allow 58 student participants to use their own laptops (or tablets!) to connect to Jupyter notebooks without the need to install any software.

AMS 2023 Student Conference Python workshop
Student Conference Python workshop.

The 90-minute workshop was led by Unidata's Nicole Corbin and Drew Camron. The instructors took participants through a variety of notebook-based exercises designed to help them get up to speed with scientific Python concepts and tools, showing them how to use open source resources from Unidata and elsewhere to advance their own scientific learning and research. Unidata's Julien Chastang and Ana Espinoza worked to ensure that participants had access to the needed resources on the Unidata Science Gateway, and other staff members were on hand to help out.

MetPy Short Course
AMS 2023 MetPy Short Course
AMS 2023 MetPy Short Course.

Unidata staff were busy that Sunday: there was also an AMS Short Course titled MetPy for your Data: Analyzing Meteorological Observations in Python. The course helped participants understand how to apply Python to unique scientific and data needs, introduced them to the ecosystem of scientific Python libraries, and demonstrated how MetPy supports domain- and data-specific workflows spanning entire projects across the varied field of meteorology and atmospheric science. Unidata developers Drew Camron and Ryan May, joined by Professor Kevin Goebbert from Valparaiso University and doctoral student (and former Unidata summer intern) Jon Thielen from Colorado State University, led 38 participants through a series of hands-on exercises.

MetPy made numerous other appearances during the conference as part of the 13th Symposium on Advances in Modeling and Analysis Using Python, several sections of which were chaired or co-chaired by Max Grover. Max is a software developer at Argonne National Lab and yet another former Unidata summer intern.

Science Gateway Notes

In addition to supporting the MetPy Short Course and Student Conference Python workshop, Unidata's Science Gateway provided JupyterHub resources for 24 attendees of an AMS Lidar Radar Open Software Environment (LROSE) workshop sponsored by NCAR and Colorado State University.

Additional LROSE workshops in coming months will also take advantage of resources provided by the Unidata Science Gateway. And you can too! For the spring 2023 term, Unidata is once again offering universities (or individual instructors) access to cloud-based JupyterHub servers tailored to the requirements of university atmospheric science courses and workshops. See Offer: Unidata Science Gateway JupyterHub Resources Available for Spring 2023 Courses for additional details.

Unidata-focused EIPT Session
Unidata's Jeff Weber at the EIPT session
Unidata's Jeff Weber at the EIPT session.

A number of Unidata-related talks and presentations took place under the aegis of the 39th Conference on Environmental Information Processing Technologies (EIPT). Nothing new there; the EIPT conference is one of Unidata's usual venues at the AMS Annual Meeting. New this year, however, was an EIPT session devoted to Unidata's activities on behalf of the Earth System Science community. Session 9A - Community Driven: Unidata Projects Enhancing Geoscience Teaching and Research sought to update community members on Unidata's work with the Science Gateway, AWIPS, the THREDDS Data Server, Data Sovereignty and Data Governance on Tribal Lands, and using Open Source Tools to teach Atmospheric Science. About a hundred people cycled through the series of early Wednesday morning talks.

Visiting with Community

In addition to interacting with community members at talks and poster sessions, Unidata staff members spent time at the UCAR/NCAR booth in the AMS exhibit hall. While Unidata's presence at the booth was low-key, we were happy to talk with students and others who came by to learn about internships, software, and data access.

What do you think of this arrangement? Were you able to find us in the AMS exhibition space? Did you get to talk with Unidata staff members you wanted to contact? We'd love to hear your thoughts on how we can best visit with you at AMS 2024! Drop us a line at support@unidata.ucar.edu if you'd like to weigh in.

Unidata Users Workshop: Summer 2023

Finally, a quick reminder that the 2023 Unidata Users Workshop is coming up June 5-8, 2023. Stay tuned for additional details about activities, presenters, and logistics.

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