OSU hosts 2017 CADRE conference
On April 12, 2017, Oklahoma State University hosted the Coalition for Advancing Digital Research & Education (CADRE) conference at the Wes Watkins Center on the OSU-Stillwater campus. The CADRE conference stems from a collaborative, campus-wide initiative jointly led by the OSU Vice President for Research office and OSU Libraries that provides researchers with assistance in all aspects of computational and data-intensive research.
(Conference attendees listen to keynote speaker John Towns (left) and OSU HPCC Director Dana Brunson (right) at the inaugural CADRE conference)
Nearly 200 people from Oklahoma and surrounding states representing 16 higher education institutions and 11 commercial, four governmental, and four nongovernmental organizations attended the inaugural conference, which featured morning addresses from keynote speaker John Towns, Executive Director for Science & Technology at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, plenary speaker Kelly Gaither, Director of Visualization at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) and the University of Texas - Austin, and plenary speaker and conference organizer Dana Brunson, OSU Assistant Vice President for Research Cyberinfrastructure and Director of the OSU High Performance Computing Center.
“In the academic research environment, there is a growing reliance on advanced computing and digital resources, but researchers sometimes have difficulty locating these resources, if they even learn of them at all,” Brunson said. “The CADRE conference provides a prime opportunity for researchers, librarians and cyberinfrastructure professionals to come together and discuss these resources, which can result in better, faster and more thorough research as well as produce new and exciting collaborations.”
An Oklahoma libraries plenary panel was also held to provide updates from higher education library systems throughout the state including OSU, the University of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Oklahoma State University. A series of breakout sessions from researchers and educational facilitators throughout the region composed the conference's afternoon activities.
More than 75 people attended a networking reception and poster session held the evening before the conference in the Wes Watkins Center. Reception guests were invited to interact with the nearly 20 poster presenters, vote for their favorite poster and presenter online, and at the end of the reception, OSU Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering graduate students Navin Sakthivel and Shivram Tabibu were announced as the event's "People's Choice" poster session winners.
A major theme of the inaugural conference revolved around collaboration among institutional departments to better address the digital and advanced computing research needs of a given community.
The CADRE conference stemmed from a nearly two-year collaboration between the OSU High Performance Computing Center (HPCC), a division of the OSU Vice President for Research office, and OSU Libraries’ Research Data Services to bring much needed research computing resources and training to the OSU campus. This successful partnership inspired the formation of CADRE, a multidisciplinary, campus-wide initiative to build a comprehensive and collaborative environment for OSU’s computational and data-intensive researchers.
“We were excited about the interest and turnout for this first conference,” Cinthya Ippoliti, Associate Dean for OSU Libraries' Research and Learning Services, said. “There was great diversity in the topics presented and people who attended, and it was a huge step forward in creating a more collaborative research environment at OSU. Over the next year, we hope to continue developing the CADRE initiative more thoroughly, and hopefully that will include a 2018 CADRE conference next spring.”
The audience for the CADRE conference was largely composed of faculty, staff and researchers involved with computational and data-driven research from OSU and other regional higher education institutions. An added bonus was the inclusion of many of the region’s K-12 educational facilitators, including a breakout session from two of Oklahoma’s regional STEM alliances - the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance and the Central Oklahoma STEM Alliance.
The 2017 National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing awards ceremony for the Oklahoma region, which recognizes high school girls with an interest in computing, was held in conjunction with the conference. Seven high school girls and two Oklahoma computing educators were honored for their interest and achievements toward a future in computing.
The conference also featured a vendor exposition to connect regional researchers with industry leaders and resource providers, including Intel, the conference’s Gold sponsor, which has a long history of providing contributions to community and open-source initiatives benefitting research computing. The conference was free to attend and was open to all researchers and aspiring researchers – faculty, students and staff - from OSU and other institutions in the region.