The final session of the workshop included brief presentations from workshop planning committee members in which they briefly synthesized key workshop themes on one of three preassigned topics of seismological and geodetic facility instrumentation, user support services, data management, or education and outreach capabilities. The next four sections of this chapter encapsulate their comments. The final section describes potential uses for these proceedings.
Tim Dixon, University of South Florida
Tim Dixon described two potentially problematic areas related to seismological and geodetic facility instrumentation. The first was related to retooling aging and potentially obsolete instrumentation. The second was related to adopting new technologies, which Dixon expressed may not happen often enough. Dixon expressed his hope that any discussion about the structure of future seismological and geodetic facilities include discussion about instrument upgrades and adoption of new technologies.
Holly Given, International Ocean Discovery Program
Holly Given described the importance of facility user support services to principal investigators by highlighting specific points that she attributed to various speakers throughout the workshop. She highlighted Flesch’s statement that facilities are more than just brick and mortar, and that investments are also made in staff and in the entire scientific community. Given reminded participants of Michael Kuhlman’s comments that user support services also include measurement protocols, data processing algorithms, and analysis
software that might be used by the entire research community. Given recounted Detrick’s statements that facilities provide better user support because of the domain expertise within facility management, and because of the guidance provided by the domain experts on facility Boards of Directors. She said that Aster amplified that sentiment by stating that no academic department can approach the level of experimental and technological support in training, development, and logistics needed for large and innovative projects that facilities such as the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and UNAVCO are capable of handling. Facility services and capabilities have advanced beyond what the best-supported universities attain. Given echoed that sentiment based on her own experiences. She reiterated Aster’s comments that the trained and experienced professional staff at the Seismological Facility for the Advancement of Geoscience (SAGE), Geodetic Facility for the Advancement of Geoscience (GAGE), and their sub-awardees also contribute their institutional memory, education, technological leadership, and strong service ethic. Given stated that the user support services provided by the facilities keeps principal investigators “blissfully ignorant” of all of the logistical arrangements that are necessary to allow complex science to be done in any remote location on Earth. She closed her comments by stating that those services are provided well right now.
Greg Beroza, Stanford University
Greg Beroza reiterated several participants’ comments that there is an overriding need for domain expertise when determining how data are collected, how and in what formats they are stored, and how they are used. In whatever way future seismological and geodetic facilities are managed, he said, that domain expertise needs to be maintained. He also recounted that the large data volumes expected, perhaps in the next 5 years, represent big challenges for the facilities. Data collection rates are increasing dramatically as sensor costs decrease and as new types of sensing are available. Current data management approaches may not necessarily scale to the volumes of data coming in, he said. Beroza discussed the open questions around how and where those data will be stored, whether those data should be processed closer to where they are gathered, whether they should be processed in the Cloud, how those data could be made secure, and what the communities should do about high performance computing in general. He also wondered how data might be georeferenced, be made more machine discoverable, and be more accessible to scientists in different disciplines so that more expertise can be applied to interesting problems in seismology and geodesy. Beroza recounted comments by some participants that educators should also be able to access and use data more easily. Moving forward, Beroza suggested that choices about future seismological and geodetic facility management need to be made in light of these challenges as well as how to save, curate, and preserve older data before they are lost.
Doug Hollett, Melroy & Hollett Technology Partners, LLC
Doug Hollett described that whatever the management structure of future seismological and geodetic facilities, education and outreach requires more thought. Education and outreach involve engaging with a diverse constituency that is highly interested in what the seismology and geodesy communities are doing. Hollett’s point of view was that education and outreach programs need to be able to inform those people about the science in which the research communities are engaged, and in what ways that science impacts their daily lives. He recalled discussion of potential advantages raised for distributed education and outreach operations including being able to reach students, researchers, and the broader public through more “touch points.” On the other hand, a centralized model might offer more or a broader set of materials. Hollett thought it interesting that multiple breakout groups warned of assuming that centralization equated to cost savings. He suggested that discussions continue about future seismological and geodetic facilities, as it is important to determine expected outcomes, levels of quality, and baseline measures and metrics for success. These considerations need to drive any decisions about future facility management, he added.
This workshop proceedings was prepared for the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide information that will help in its attempts to sustainably support seismological and geodetic facility capabilities. During the general comment period, Maggie Benoit of NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) indicated that IRIS and UNAVCO have “provided incredibly fantastic operation and management of [NSF seismological and geodetic] facilities” (see Appendix E), and that NSF is not trying to “fix” that management. Rather NSF is exploring its own options for support of facility capabilities as technology evolves and research needs change. The workshop proceedings may also be used by the Catalyzing Opportunities for Research in the Earth Sciences Consensus Study Committee in deliberations regarding its second task: scientific infrastructure needed to advance the high-priority Earth science research, the current inventory of research infrastructure supported by EAR and other relevant areas of NSF, and analysis of capability. Based on the enthusiasm with which managers of different scientific facilities were willing to participate in the workshop, the workshop planning committee was hopeful that the resultant workshop proceedings would also be useful to scientific facility managers wishing to improve their own operations.
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