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NEEShub User Workshop Reveals Powerful Difference Between a Website and a Hub

Posted in Announcements

"The workshop really showed me the difference between a web site and a hub - the power to run programs and modify files on a remote machine. After just one day, I feel like I can modify files and create plots within the hub. I am already planning my first Wiki within the hub for the NEES Users Forum and plan to upload E-Defense data next month and use inDEED. I think everyone is excited about how far this will take NEES and specifically earthquake engineering research collaboration and sharing." -- John W. van de Lindt, Ph.D., Professor and Drummond Chair in Civil Engineering, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, The University of Alabama.

On June 10-11, 2010, NEEScomm convened a NEEShub Workshop to collect systematic feedback from a small, representative group of prospective NEEShub adopters. The goal was to obtain user input on the basic functionalities and integrated tools to be included in release 1 of NEEShub, so as to make NEEShub a useful resource and productive research collaboration environment.

NEEShub, which will be released July 31, 2010, is intended to be a gateway to project data, collaborative tools and educational resources. It will provide researchers and educators with access to current NEES tools, as well as new features designed to support the needs of the community. Current NEES cyberinfrastructure functionality will be enhanced to offer researchers streamlined access to existing resources. New developments are intended to increase the usability of NEES data, simulation tools, and remote collaboration.

During this first workshop, the focus was on the tools being improved and developed to support users in their research efforts: the Project Warehouse (NEES data repository), inDEED (data viewing), OpenSEES (simulation), Project Explorer for NEES tool (uplaod) as well as expanded search capabilities. Other capabilities of the underlying platform, Hubzero, such as the user and group workspaces, and resource and tool availability were also investigated during the workshop.

The workshop featured two kinds of activities: brief formal presentations by NEEScomm IT and interactive team activities. During the interactive team activities, participants worked in small groups performing activities using a prototype NEEShub. Participants were then asked for feedback--i.e. problems experienced, things they like, ideas for the future--which will be used to improve and expand the capabilities of the hub to benefit the entire earthquake engineering community.

'The NEEShub workshop was eye-opening for me," said Bozidar "Boza" Stojadinovic, PhD., Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California at Berkeley. "The new, interactive, web hub is something new and good to come to the NEES community. It resembles a modern newspaper or social site web page: engaging and relevant, but with a "my" part the user can customize. The tools need a bit of work, but this is where the other side of interactivity comes in: the NEEScomm IT staff is truly alert and ready to respond to user feedback. We can only hope they will continue to do so when the NEEShub website goes live.'

John W. van de Lindt, Ph.D., Professor and Drummond Chair in Civil Engineering, Department of Civil, Construction, and Env Engineering, The University of Alabama said ""The workshop really showed me the difference between a web site and a hub - the power to run programs and modify files on a remote machine. After just one day, I feel like I can modify files and create plots within the hub. I am already planning my first Wiki within the hub for the NEES Users Forum and plan to upload E-Defense data next month and use inDEED. I think everyone is excited about how far this will take NEES and specifically earthquake engineering research collaboration and sharing."

The workshop is a critical step in the development process of NEEShub and it is anticipated that such a workshop will be held yearly.