Tapia fireside chat-towns

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2013 Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference
Plenary Panel: “Microsoft-Sponsored Fireside Chat about Future Technologies”
Moderator: Valerie Taylor, Texas A&M;

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Tapia fireside chat-towns

  1. 1. November 17, 2013 Tapia Conference: Fireside Chat Slides John Towns PI and Project Director, XSEDE Director, Collaborative Cyberinfrastructure Programs, NCSA jtowns@ncsa.illinois.edu
  2. 2. XSEDE Mission The eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE): enhances the productivity of scientists and engineers by providing them with new and innovative capabilities and thus facilitates scientific discovery while enabling transformational science/engineering and innovative educational programs 2
  3. 3. XSEDE’s Objectives • Understand the cyberinfrastructure requirements of the science and engineering research and education community • Create a cyberinfrastructure ecosystem to facilitate improved researcher productivity • Provide a unique user friendly interface to the resources and services accessible via XSEDE • Maximize researcher productivity 3
  4. 4. Major Future Technologies – how will these be used (a distributed cyberinfrastructure context) • New environments for science and engineering research and education – beyond Science Gateways/application portals/etc. – oriented toward end user – customized/configurable for specific use Creating the capability to very simply create personalized environments for conducting the end-to-end set of processes in accomplishing research and education goals. • New interfaces for interaction with these environments – driven by what is familiar to the current teenager • immediate access to information—anytime, anywhere • multiple interaction modes and devices – cell phones, tablets, laptops – keyboards, swiping, voice recognition 4
  5. 5. A Few Implications • Back to the Future – everything is in the “cloud” – “cloud” will be redefined several times • think client-server, VT100 terminals, thin clients and all the other names these fundamentally similar things have been called – ..but will the pendulum swing again? • Resurgence in comfort with all things being elsewhere (i.e. in the “cloud”) – expectations of availability of all things anywhere at anytime will be very high! – …and this might again driving the pendulum! • End user devices driven by the need to display and interact – we already see this emerging more and more extensively • PCs are already seen as passing • These abstractions make life easier for so many BUT, reduce dramatically those that know how the black boxes work – [John’s MatLab story…] 5
  6. 6. Some Key Issues in Realizing Future Technologies • “Old Guard” problem: pros and cons – those that currently manage these environments • have a good handle on what works and what does not work • understand the current technology very well • know how to develop new capabilities that work – BUT, they • don’t understand their kids and the mentality associated with how they interact with one another and the digital world • struggle to effectively use these new interaction modalities; their kids consider them second nature • “IKEA syndrome” (at least one version) – one inherently tends to see greater value in something in which they have invested themselves than others will – THUS, those that have created the current environments perhaps see greater value in them that those that are trying to use them • We are likely to lack those that can create anything not possible to assemble from the abstractions available – need people who know how the black boxes work and can modify them or create new black boxes for others 6
  7. 7. What Skills Will be Needed? • Black Box Builders – those that can build the tools used by others to create their own environments – we need developers: distributed systems, novel user interfaces, strong software engineering • Infrastructure Creators – those that can develop vision and execute it to create the infrastructure to support these personalized environments – we need leaders: vision development, project leadership, influencing the powers that be… – we need middle management: understanding of technology and how to apply it, executing projects, managing humans – we need social engineers: understand the cultural contexts of the diverse set of participants, develop processes cognizant of them, develop management structures and practices • These are not mutually exclusive!! 7

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