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UW Graduate Student One of 36 Selected for CyberGIS Summer School

May 10, 2017
man sitting at a computer
Dylan Perkins, a UW graduate student from Riverton majoring in geography, is one of 36 graduate or postgraduate students selected to attend the National Center for Supercomputing Applications’ CyberGIS Center for Advanced and Digital Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign May 15-20. (Dylan Perkins Photo)

A University of Wyoming graduate student is one of 36 nationwide chosen to participate in the National Center for Supercomputing Applications’ CyberGIS Center for Advanced and Digital Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign May 15-20.

Dylan Perkins, a graduate geography major from Riverton, received a $2,000 travel grant that will cover his flights, hotel, part of his meal stipend and the registration fee for an associated symposium. The grant is supported by the National Science Foundation.

“My research directly involves using CyberGIS to discover data using a web-based mapping application and semantically annotated data sets,” Perkins says. “Using semantics to annotate data minimizes the ambiguity of certain terms and facilitates discovery over the web while also linking to other data sets based on similar contexts of each data set, i.e., the term ‘water’ is related to precipitation and soil moisture data sets.”

Additionally, Perkins says he is at the beginning of his career as a database design analyst at the Advanced Research Computing Center (ARCC), where he assists researchers across campus with their data management needs.

“The theme for the summer school is ‘CyberGIS and Diverse Partnerships for Geospatial Workforce Development.’ So, it is right up my alley as far as CyberGIS and high-performance computing for my workforce development,” Perkins says.  

To be accepted to the summer school, Perkins had to fill out an application, which included a brief abstract on his research; submit a one-page resume on what classes/experience he has with CyberGIS; and a recommendation letter from his adviser, Shannon Albeke, an associate research scientist and ecoinformaticist at UW’s Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center.

Participants will develop novel solutions to a set of significant scientific problems as they learn about cutting-edge scientific advances and technical capabilities of CyberGIS. These problems will focus on three general interdisciplinary areas: emergency management, smart and connected communities, and the nexus of food, energy and water systems.

“I am hoping to learn CyberGIS techniques on a supercomputer,” Perkins explains. “The University of Illinois supercomputer, ROGER, already has this ability whereas Mount Moran, here at UW, is not currently being used by many to do spatial analyses. Hopefully, I can learn some of these and provide that sort of insight to researchers here.”  

Perkins says he wanted to participate in the summer school to collaborate with others who may have had similar experiences with developing interesting solutions to communicating science, complex data and data management problems using geospatial technology in addition to conventional practices. He adds he will not receive academic credit for attending, but the summer school will count as additional job training for him.

“I believe, by attending the summer school, I will gain knowledge and perspective by listening and working with others on projects similar or dissimilar to mine,” he says. “This also will undoubtedly help me as I continue with my research and my career.”

Summer school attendees will prepare reports and present their posters at the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science Symposium in Arlington, Va., May 22-25.

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