Published June 2023

Dear SDSC Staff, Collaborators, Partners, and All Friends:

With the end of the academic and fiscal years this month, we look forward to the pleasant pause of summer. But in between travel and vacation days, SDSC will continue humming with activity. 

The proposal for the School of Computing, Information and Data Sciences (SCIDS) was recently submitted to the UC San Diego Academic Senate. A search committee was formed and will soon begin interviewing candidates for the role of Assistant Dean for the new school.

SCIDS, as the project is nicknamed, will be founded around SDSC and the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute (HDSI), which is celebrating its fifth anniversary (I am one of the founding faculty members, as is SDSC’s Ilkay Altintas). As the pillars for the new school, SDSC and HDSI will benefit from collaborations with other campus schools and academic departments, such as computer science and engineering (CSE), electrical and computer engineering (ECE), cognitive science and mathematics (CSM).

To review our roles, SDSC will serve as the operational and translational science core of SCIDS, building on our history as one of the original four national supercomputer centers established by the National Science Foundation nearly forty years ago. HDSI, established five years ago in anticipation of the growth of data sciences, will serve as the academic core of the new school with an established undergraduate program, approved graduate degree programs and generous philanthropic support.

SCIDS will operate to meet the goal of transforming data into knowledge through development of data and information science, advancing innovative computing paradigms and developing entirely new contextual learning algorithms and methodologies that can transform society. Its educational programs will be designed to train a new generation of professionals--particularly in the emerging technologies of artificial intelligence and machine learning. This all adds up to a very exciting and promising road ahead for our SDSC community. Stay tuned for future updates as the new school takes shape.

In addition to SCIDS, another example of strong SDSC-HDSI collaboration is the eye-popping participation of the Chatting GPT event we hosted in April. In collaboration with UCTV, we tracked 750 participants—590 unique online viewers and 160 onsite attendees—making the event SDSC’s largest on record, aside from the annual Supercomputing Conference. Participation spanned the globe—India, UK, Australia, Canada, France, UAE, Mexico, Israel, Greece, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Kosovo and Peru. Wow! I could not be more proud or grateful for our SDSC members’ efforts, led by Susan Rathbun, and for the leadership of HDSI’s Justin Eldridge.

I also would like to give a shout out to CW3E, formally the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, which recently held its annual meeting. Its long list of accomplishments is not only impressive but carries major societal impact for the work it does to revolutionize the physical understanding, observations, weather predictions and climate projections of extreme events in western North America, such as atmospheric rivers and their effects on floods, drought, hydropower, the economy and more. You can learn more about their work on this website. By the way, CW3E uses the Comet supercomputer at SDSC to support its work.

Meanwhile, in this issue of Innovators please take notice of our News Highlights, where you can learn something you might not have known about solar flares (aka Sun burps) and read about the latest milestone for the Prototype National Research Platform. Our education outreach efforts, featured under Researcher Spotlight, continue with the Pala Band of Mission of Indians, for whom our science writer Kim Mann Bruch led students through a hands-on research project around the Western Bluebird in association with the Audubon Society. Additionally, be sure not to miss the Convergence Research Update, the Industry Partnerships news and the listing of upcoming programs and events, including our two summer institutes and the 2023 Throughput Computing conference.

Thank you for your continued interest and support. I wish you a safe and relaxing summer season.

My best wishes,
Frank Würthwein
SDSC Director