Activity and Status

It’s been some months since we updated this blog. My apologies for that. Here’s a quick summary of our recent activities. I hope to make a quick series of blog posts over the next week or two describing some of these in more detail, and linking to presentations and related materials:

  • 2011-08-26: Invited panelist at the First International Workshop on Climate Informatics, at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City. This fascinating workshop, organized by Gavin Schmidt (of Columbia and NASA GISS) and Claire Montelione, brought together researchers in climate science and in informatics to find common ground.
  • 2011-08-29: Invited talk at Google’s New York City offices, describing the Foundation, our Clear Climate Code project, our Summer of Code successes, and the then-draft Science Code Manifesto.
  • 2011-09-01: Attended a meeting of the ‘Science as a Public Enterprise’ policy study, at the Royal Society in London. Michael Nielsen spoke about the Polymath project, and the open science revolution. He took the time to talk with me later, and offered his support for the Science Code Manifesto.
  • 2011-09-02: Invited panel member at Science Online London, providing an outsider’s perspective in a discussion of the research funding system.
  • 2011-09-22: Visited the Macmillan offices in London, to meet Olive Heffernan (editor of Nature Climate Change) and Mark Hahnel (the man behind FigShare).
  • 2011-10-10/11: Attended the two-day meeting at the Royal Society on “Warm Climates of the Past”. A lot of fascinating science attempting to draw lessons for the Anthropocene from some particular paleoclimate episodes (the LIG, the PETM, and so on).
  • 2011-10-13: Launched the Science Code Manifesto, to a great response from a wide range of scientists.
  • 2011-10-21/23: Invited to the Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit, in Mountain View, CA. A terrific gathering of people from across the open-source world. We had a couple of positive sessions on Open Science: open data, open source code, open access publications.
  • 2011-10-22/23: I couldn’t get to the Open Science Summit (also in Mountain View, CA), because it clashed with the Google event. I did show my face at the Saturday evening social, and met a number of Open Science movers and shakers in person for the first time (apparently I just missed Victoria Stodden).
  • 2011-10-24: Talk at the GooglePlex (invited by Peter Norvig). Covered the Science Code Manifesto especially.
  • 2011-10-24: Attended a seminar at Stanford by Robert Reicher, on sustainable energy futures. Met John Mashey in the flesh (20+ years after first encountering him online).
  • 2011-10-25: Invited visit to the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures team at the LBL. Met Richard Muller and the rest of the team. Sat in on their weekly team meeting (honoured to sit opposite Saul Perlmutter and Arthur Rosenfeld).
  • 2011-11: Our paper on the ccc-gistemp project was published in IEEE Software. This is the Foundation’s first peer-reviewed publication. Sadly my copy of this particular issue has been lost in the post; I must chase it up with the IEEE.
  • 2011-11-10: The GHCN 3.1.0 dataset was released by NCDC. This incorporates fixes to their homogenization code prompted by Dan Rothenberg’s Summer of Code work.
  • 2011-11-22: Invited talk to an ICES Foundation meeting at the WMO in Geneva. They’re a group in the very early stages of an exciting project. I had finally received my copy of Michael Nielsen’s book “Reinventing Discovery” just before this trip. I read it on my outward journey, and as a result completely rewrote my talk. Read this book now.
  • 2011-11-25: Invited seminar at NCAS in Reading. Covered the usual ground: the CCF, ccc-gistemp, Summer of Code, the Science Code Manifesto. Very lively Q&A session afterwards, which continued through coffee into lunch.
  • 2011-12-15: Attended AAAS-sponsored seminar by David MacKay at Imperial College, London. MacKay is the chief scientific adviser to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and talked about their “2050 Pathways” web tool, which has grown out of his great book on sustainable energy. He is far too busy, but I managed to pigeon-hole him briefly to discuss a possible project to build a Pathways app for smartphones.
  • 2012-01-18: Invited talk at NCDC in Asheville, NC, hosted by Peter Thorne. Very interesting meetings with Tom Petersen and Scott Hausman, then the Ingest and Analysis group, and the Climate Data Records team.
  • 2012-01-22/26: Invited speaker and panellist at the AMS annual meeting in New Orleans. Johnny Lin (of PyAOS) ran the “Second Symposium on Advances in Modeling and Analysis Using Python” and kindly invited me to speak. An excellent meeting, full of new contacts and ideas. One particular highlight for me was that all three of our Summer of Code students gave presentations. I was also very glad to meet Travis Oliphant, the creator of NumPy – I hope to be able to work with him, and his new Continuum Analytics company and NumFocus foundation, in future.

In the next month I am giving a seminar at the Met Office and attending a round-table meeting of the Royal Society policy study. We’re expecting the Google Summer of Code 2012 to be announced shortly, and are hoping to take part.

It’s possible I’ve missed a few items. I haven’t mentioned any of the amazing related work going on, especially in the open science field. I’ll try to summarize that in another blog post.

As you can see, the blog silence has not been a sign of inactivity – rather the reverse. In fact, I’m actually writing this blog post in a stolen moment between sessions at the AMS meeting. Some other aspects of the Foundation’s work have also been neglected (for instance, we failed to schedule a meeting of our advisory committee). But the Foundation is in rude health.

In other news, one of our founders, David Jones, is now working for scraperwiki, a truly excellent open-source/open-data website. He continues as a director of the Foundation, and is writing a paper on some of our work.

The Foundation is still unfunded and all our work continues to be unpaid (and most “invited talks” do not include travel or accommodation expenses). We are meeting most of our expenses from a small fee for contract programming in March 2011.

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