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People of SGCI: Choonhan Youn

Choonhan Youn

Computer Scientist
San Diego Supercomputer Center at University of California, San Diego

What is your role within SGCI and what do you do?

I have two roles within SGCI. As a lead consultant in the Extended Developer Support (EDS) program, I help scientists across different domains assimilate into a high-performance computing environment, known as the Science Gateway framework. As a Science Gateway Catalogue developer in the Scientific Software Collaborative (SSC) program, I design and implement a search tool/catalogue component into the Science Gateway system so that users can effectively access any tools and information they might need.

How did you come to be a part of SGCI, and why were you intrigued by the opportunity?

For the last ten years, I have been involved with various cyberinfrastructure projects including OpenTopograpy (http://www.opentopography.org/), TEAM (http://www.teamnetwork.org/), and CyberGIS (http://sandbox.cigi.illinois.edu/home/). I have had the pleasure of working with our principal investigator, Nancy Wilkins-Diehr, for CyberGIS in the past. For CyberGIS, I worked on developing a workflow and geo-cataloguing component for the system. Since SGCI similarly needed workflow and catalogue elements, Nancy contacted me asking for my help. I was interested in the opportunity because I wanted the chance to take what I learned from CyberGIS and further progress my abilities in this aspect of computer science. 

What is the most challenging part of your work for SGCI?

I would have to say that the most challenging part of my work is communicating with different professionals across different fields of science. My background is in computer science, but while working with SGCI, I find that I often have to collaborate with biologists, physicists, and geologists. Trying to keep up with the terminology specific to those different fields as well as trying to refrain from freely using jargon specific to computer science is pretty difficult. Since we all use different terms, during meetings, all of us might be thinking of the same idea, but we express them in different ways, which can lead to some misinterpretations. It is definitely a learning process for both parties, but it’s also a great experience and I’m satisfied with the fruitful outcome of our discussions.

How else are you involved in the technology or gateway community?

I am also a consultant for XSEDE Extended Collaborative Support Services (ECSS). This program is similar to the EDS program in the XSEDE community. 

What do you most like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I like to hike around the coasts of San Diego and visit beach front cafes. Lately, I have also been into gardening, and I enjoy growing vegetables and herbs for my family to enjoy. 

If you were a superhero, what superpower would you have?

I would like to be a time traveler.  I want to visit various historically significant moments in the past, and I also want to travel to the future to see how my youngest son is doing 30 years later.