Report from the Hawaii International Conference on Systems Science (HICSS), January 4-7, 2017
By Sandra Gesing and Maytal Dahan
If you follow our twitter feed at https://twitter.com/sciencegateways you already know that we had an amazing opportunity to attend the Hawaii International Conference on System Science (HICSS) on the Big Island of Hawaii.
A conference in Hawaii, who can say no to that? Not only was the location fabulous, but it provided an amazing opportunity to promote Science Gateways and the Science Gateways Community Institute to a wide community of potential clients outside of our usual scope.
Early in 2016, before the Institute was funded, two team members of SGCI, Nancy Wilkins-Diehr and Sandra Gesing, with collaborator Michelle Barker (NeCTAR, Australia), organized a mini-track on Science Gateways and Portals within the Software Technology track for the 50th HICSS Conference. For those of you who haven’t heard of HICSS before, it is known as the longest-standing working scientific conference in Information Technology Management. HICSS provides a highly interactive working environment for top scholars from academia and the industry from over 60 countries to come together and exchange ideas in various areas of information, computer, and system sciences.
The SGCI team saw this as an opportunity to promote the work done building up to the launch of the Institute and the services offered. A paper about the Science Gateways Community Institute was accepted via an independent review panel and presented by Sandra Gesing and Maytal Dahan. In addition to that, a panel was organized to discuss the issues that impact Science Gateways the most – what makes a successful gateway, how to promote gateways, reproducibility, sustainability, and more.
At the HICSS conference, there were over 1,000 attendees and we got to see a variety of presentations ranging from big data topics to collaborative environments dealing with disaster management. The breadth of topics gave HICSS a unique feel and provided a unique opportunity to meet researchers from a variety of fields. This conference was a good reminder that there are plenty of folks who aren’t familiar at all with the term Science Gateway. Being a part of the Institute provided an opportunity to reach out to these new researchers and have a concrete place to point them to in order to learn more about our services and the potential to use them.
We also attended an interesting keynote by Peter Marx, Executive Director of GE Digital and formerly the CTO of the City of Los Angeles. Maytal, being a native of LA, thoroughly enjoyed the interesting slides he presented about the various data collections that the Los Angeles government makes publicly available such as traffic, construction and meter information, how various applications currently use it, and the potential for the future. It got us thinking, what kind of Science Gateways exist using local city data? Does a Science Gateway exist to study the traffic patterns of Los Angeles streets and how to improve it? Maytal sure hopes so!
Besides further thought-provoking talks, CIAS (Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security) set up a competition to be able to test and modify websites. The longer a user could establish so-called flags under his/her anonymized account, the more points the account received. CIAS also organizes state and US-wide competitions throughout the year and students and mentors can participate for free to learn about the important topic of cybersecurity in hands-on sessions in great set ups with teams plus the fun factor of making a game out of it. These are initiatives that are definitely interesting for the Workforce Development service area of the Institute.
Attendance at our presentations was modest but impactful. We met with interesting potential clients and even had the chair of the conference come sit in on our session. The discussion was vibrant and full of interesting ideas.
For more information about the SGCI HICSS paper please check out:
Gesing, S., Wilkins-Diehr, N., Dahan, M., Lawrence, K., Zentner, M., Pierce, M., Hayden, L.B., and Marru, S. (2017) Science Gateways: The Long Road to the Birth of an Institute
The presentation made at HICSS-50 can be viewed here.