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NEREN Seminar: Bridging the Gap
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This seminar is sponsored by Red River and Partners – Penguin Computing and Igneous. The finalized agenda are attached

When: March 31, 2017
Where: Hyatt Regency Cambridge
575 Memorial Drive
Cambridge 02139
Contact: Laurie Robinson

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NEREN Seminar:

“Bridging the Gap – Research Facilitation”

Sponsored by Red River and Partners –

Penguin Computing and Igneous Systems

Friday, March 31, 2017, 9:30AM– 3:00PM (Registration/Breakfast – 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM)




This event is FREE to attend!! But seating is limited.  So REGISTER today!


If you are planning to participate in the Webcast, could you please let Laurie Robinson know –


Download Full Agenda HERE 




8:30AM – 9:00AMRegistration/Continental Breakfast/Networking


9:30AM –9:40AM Welcoming/Opening Remarks (NEREN)


9:40AM – 10:00AM “Trends enabling Analytics, Data, and Collaboration”

Advances in technology, new computing models, and industry investments are making collaboration, advanced analytics, and large scale data sharing more accessible than ever before.  These trends and advancements have the ability to bridge the gaps and reshape the pace of innovation.

Presenter: Paul Krein, Vice President of Digital and Cloud Solutions, Red River


10:00AM10:40AM “An overview of the ACI-REF program (Advanced Cyberinfrastructure - Research & Education Facilitation) out of the NSF, as well as the Northeast Storage Exchange, a forthcoming collaborative research data storage project.”

More and more our national computational infrastructure continues to grow in size, scale and complexity.  Our researchers rather than finding easy and seamless access to boundless resource are actually finding increasing friction between them and the resources they desperately need in a world driven by Big Data.  ACI-REF was designed as a 2 year pilot to investigate if direct application of human capital through facilitation would remove this friction.  One of the critical work products of this activity was to develop a best practices handbook.  James will discuss the evolution of the project and next steps for campuses as they continue to design their cyberinfrastructure strategies from lessons learned from this activity.  Following on, James will describe the North East Storage Exchange, a 5 year funded effort just starting to develop a low cost, secure and highly performant object store for science and research.  NESE builds on prior success with the MGHPCC data center for research and their shared operating model, and features investigators from each of Boston University, Northeastern University, MIT, Harvard and the University of Massachusetts.  Their aim as like the "wetware" example of the ACI-REF program is to build frictionless access to large scale storage for science.

Presenter: James A. Cuff, Assistant Dean for Research and Computing, Harvard University and Co-Principal Investigator – ACI-REF.



10:40AM 11:20AM "Bridging the Gap - Facilitating Collaborative Life Science Research in Commercial & Enterprise Environments"
The future of pharmaceutical drug development increasingly requires complex multi-party collaboration (and high-scale data exchange) among public, private, academic and non-profit organizations. While collaborating in one area, some parties may be fierce competitors in other areas. Using recent work with Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical clients, Chris will candidly discuss current and emerging challenges, trends and requirements for facilitating collaborative research across, with and among commercial entities.
Presenter: Chris Dagdigian, Co-Founder and Senior Director of Infrastructure BioTeam


11:20AMNoon “Research Computing Facilitators – A Collaborative Approach”

Presenter: John Goodhue, Executive Director, MGHPCC (Biography is attached)

Research Computing Facilitators combine technical knowledge and strong interpersonal skills with a service mindset, and use their connections with cyberinfrastructure providers to ensure that researchers and educators have access to the best available resources.  It is widely recognized that Research Computing Facilitators are critical to successful use of research computing resources, but in very short supply.  This talk will discuss two ideas, developed by several NEREN members, that could make it easier for small and medium sized-institutions to fill their need for Research Computing Facilitators: (1) Build a shared regional pool of experts who can work across institutions.  This can both increase the range of available knowledge and skills, and provide “bench depth” that makes it easier to manage turnover and handle bursts of activity.  (2) Work with this pool of experts to create mentoring and work assignment opportunities that give students greater exposure to the Research Computing Facilitator role.


Noon – 12:30PM Lunch break


12:30PM – 12:45PM Case Study – Penguin Computing – Brian Hammond Ph.D


12:45PM – 1:00PM   Case Study – Igneous Systems – Stephen Pao,  CMO



1:10PM – 2:10PM – Breakout sessions

Presented by: Christopher Misra, Chief Technology Officer, UMass Amherst and James A. Cuff, Assistant Dean for Research and Computing, Harvard University, and Chris Hill, Principal Research Engineer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences


2:20 PM – 3:00PM Closing remarks by Christopher Misra, UMass Amherst, Chief Technology Officer and Paul Krein, Vice President of Digital and Cloud Solutions, Red River


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