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PTI Centers Participate in XSEDE12 Conference

XSEDE12

The inaugural XSEDE 12 conference was held in Chicago, Illinois in July.  This event was organized by Craig Stewart as the general chair.  Several of the PTI Centers had papers accepted and presented their work at this conference.

Centered on the use of the XSEDE advanced digital research and education environment, XSEDE's first annual conference – XSEDE12- featured award-winning plenary session speakers, discussion of important innovations in XSEDE technology and services, and talks about U.S. and international science and cyberinfrastructure (CI) beyond XSEDE. The goal of XSEDE is to offer scientists and researchers tremendous capabilities with maximum productivity, enabling them to advance and share knowledge across domains, and the XSEDE12 conference helped showcase those advancements.

XSEDE12 was the first conference for this $130M project supported by the National Science Foundation. PTI Executive Director Craig A. Stewart was the General Chair of the inaugural XSEDE conference, and it was organized under the auspices of IU and PTI. 

More than 600 individuals registered for XSEDE, and nearly that many attended. Dr. Richard Tapia, mathematician, professor, diversity advocate, and recent Medal of Science recipient, delivered the keynote, and he talked about the need to develop and train American talent to meet pressing science needs. Tapia challenged everyone to “work hard and go out and be excellent.” In addition to the diverse group of keynote speakers, the XSEDE12 conference focused on diversity in many other ways — through funding for attendance by students from small schools and minority-serving institutions, sign language interpreters for plenary sessions, large-print programs, and physical accessibility to all conference venues. A particularly important element of the diversity of this conference was an NSF grant award to PTI/Research technologies Jenett Tillotson, to support travel by students from minority serving institutions, and students from minority groups, at the conference. This grant – submitted as an unsolicited proposal – literally changed the face of the conference, and made XSEDE12 one of the most diverse conferences held in advanced computing.

Indiana University and PTI benefitted greatly from their investment in leading this conference. From the opening remarks to the closing remarks, IU and PTI were constantly visible and present. PTI and IU staff gave a total of two tutorials, organized or participated in four panels, and were authors or coauthors on five technical papers presented at the conference. One of the most interesting and well-attended panels was organized by PTI Managing Director Beth Plale, on data management, preservation, and curation. 

Leading a major conference like this has tremendous value to the national research and education community, and it has tremendous value for IU and PTI. The XSEDE12 conference received very high marks from attendees in terms of the quality of the conference. It was widely praised as an enjoyable and well run event of high technical quality. The visibility and the sense of community engagement and organizational capability that results from running a major conference well – particularly the first offering of a new conference series – adds credibility to PTI and IU that aids the grant competitiveness and “brand recognition” of PTI and all members of the IU community associated with PTI.