People of SGCI: Marcus Christie
Principal Science Gateway Research Consultant
Science Gateways Research Center, Indiana University
What is your role within SGCI and what do you do?
I work in the Extended Developer Support (EDS) team. I have over 15 years of experience developing software applications, with an emphasis on web application development. A good match for me is a project that needs some help with starting or improving a science gateway web application. I recently completed my first EDS project with CloudLaunch. I worked with the CloudLaunch team to add some interactive capabilities to their cloud application management portal. I also helped develop a Python library and command line interface to the CloudLaunch REST API.
How did you come to be a part of SGCI, and why were you intrigued by the opportunity?
I became a part of SGCI shortly after joining the Science Gateways Research Center (SGRC) here at IU. Marlon Pierce, the director of SGRC and also the head of EDS, invited me to join and helped me find a good matching project.
I’m intrigued by the opportunity because I enjoy working on science gateways. I worked on several science gateway efforts from about 2003 - 2007, most notably the LEAD project which was an atmospheric science gateway. I took a hiatus to work in private industry, but I’m glad to be back now in the community, helping to develop software that can extend the reach and impact of computational science.
What is the most challenging part of your work for SGCI?
The most challenging part is probably the ongoing process of needing to learn new things. But that’s also what makes it so fun! It can have the downside of making me feel impostor syndrome, after all, I’m supposed to be an expert in developing science gateways. But I’ve come to think that my expertise is that I know what I don’t know (which is actually a very valuable thing to know).
How else are you involved in the technology or gateway community?
The bulk of my time is spent working on the Apache Airavata project, an open source science gateway framework. I also support the Science Gateway as a Platform (SciGaP) project which provides free science gateway hosting.
What do you most like to do in your free time?
I love to spend time with my wife and my two daughters. We enjoy traveling whenever we can and I enjoy helping my daughters in their extracurricular pursuits. We also enjoy just hanging out and watching movies or playing board games.
I also like to read books. My favorite genre is science fiction (currently reading Dune for the third time), but I also enjoy all kinds of non-fiction books, especially history, political science, religion, and philosophy.
If you were a superhero, what superpower would you have?
I would probably have to say the ability to fly. I’ve always thought it would be so liberating to just take off and fly. Once I had a lucid dream in which I realized I could do anything within that dream and I didn’t hesitate: I took off and started flying and it was a great feeling.