RENCI Renaissance Computing Institute Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:01:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Data Matters summer short courses to focus on data issues in business and research Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:16:00 +0000 data-matters-story-image

Business managers, data analytics specialists, academic researchers, data center administrators and anyone else who grapples with big data are the target audience for a weeklong workshop series on data issues sponsored by the National Consortium for Data Science (NCDS), the Odum Institute for Social Science Research at UNC Chapel Hill, and the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI).

Data Matters, a summer workshop series on all things data, will be held June 23 – 27 at the Friday Center for Continuing Education, 100 Friday Center Drive, Chapel Hill. The workshop series will feature two-day courses on Monday and Tuesday and Thursday and Friday, and one-day courses on Wednesday.

Topics to be covered include strategies for managing big data, data management and analysis tools, using large-scale data networks, data mining and machine learning, data visualization, and predictive analysis. Instructors will include experts from SAS, Cisco, Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill, RENCI, Saffron Technologies, University of Massachuesetts at Amherst, and Pennslyvania State University.

Early bird registration runs through May 15 and saves you $50 per day. In addition to the courses, registration includes: an evening kickoff reception at Top of the Hill in Chapel Hill on Monday, June 23; lunch each day plus a lunchtime speaker on Wednesday, June 25; and transportation between the Friday Center and the UNC campus for lab work for some courses.

Courses filling fast; register now to reserve your spot. Click here for course descriptions and registration information.


The National Consortium for Data Science formed in 2013 as a non-profit public-private partnership to advance the field of data science and address the data challenges of the 21st century. For more information, visit

The Odum Institute for Research in Social Science provides a range of consulting services on quantitative and qualitative methods, GIS and spatial analysis, survey research, and data management. For more information, visit

RENCI develops and deploys advanced computing, networking, and data technologies to enable research discoveries and business innovations. The institute is a collaborative effort involving UNC, Duke University and NC State University. For more information, visit

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Creating the universe in a Social Computing Room Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:19:22 +0000 photoStudents in a communications class at UNC Chapel Hill have been using the recently opened Social Computing Room (SCR) in the Odum Institute to create their own universe.

The SCR provides an immersive 360-degree view of any visual content, allowing users to interact with and explore data in groups. The original SCR, built in 2007, is located in the RENCI space in ITS Manning on the UNC campus. Similar versions based off the original have recently opened at NC State University and in Odum’s offices in Davis Library. RENCI assisted in the technical design and implementation of the room, helping to install all the hardware, baseline operating system, and projectors and supported part of the cost of outfitting the room.

Since the Odum SCR is so new, this project was one of the first chances for students and faculty to test the room’s capabilities. The students in the project-based research class Communications 566, Media and Performance, were divided into teams and given nine days to execute some type of mixed live and digital performance using the SCR.

Each team came up with very different performance methods including dance, acting, music, and even puppetry.

One team was able to showcase their final product to an audience that included RENCI staff, some of whom helped design and implement the SCR space.

Juniors Trevor Phillips, Elliot Darrow, and Kevin Spellman, and senior Ben Elling used their knowledge of dramatic arts, music composition, technical software and information science to create a performance piece that acted out the creation of the universe. Three walls of the SCR served as an interactive stage that the performers could touch, play with, and eventually turn into a panorama of the stars and galaxies in space, all to an original soundtrack of orchestral music.

Spellman, a dramatic arts and information science double major, explained how the team came up with the idea for the project.

“The two main things that we had to consider with this project were the functionality and limitations of the space and the music,” Spellman said. “We were all just shooting off ideas about what would be really cool to do in a space like this that truly could only be done in a space like this. This vision of something as great as space—it literally turned out to be space—was something we wanted to do from the very beginning.”

Spellman said they also thought about the small size of the room, and how that would impact the audience experience.

“[The SCR] is very up close and the audience is right here. So there was this tactile experience that we thought of: What would happen if we created this virtual, tactile experience with the performers touching the wall and the media reacting with touch?

Spellman did much of the programming for the digital portion of the piece, while Philips provided the self-composed music and Darrow and Elling acted as the performers.

Joseph Megel, a visiting artist with the UNC Chapel Hill department of communication studies and one of the professors teaching the course, said he plans to utilize the SCR space with classes in the future.

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Big data means big career opportunities, UNC students learn at NCDS career event Wed, 09 Apr 2014 16:53:38 +0000

A full house for the NCDS Big Data Career Event

As a leader in the growing and evolving field of data science, the National Consortium for Data Science (NCDS) works to share knowledge and recruit a new generation of data researchers to innovate and solve challenges in organizing and managing data.

To further this goal, the NCDS hosted a student networking event with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s University Career Services office (UCS), entitled “Networking with Data Science Professionals: A Panel Discussion and Meetup with Triangle Business Leaders.”

Monique Morrow of Cisco speaks to students during the Data Science Panel Discussion

Monique Morrow of Cisco, far right, speaks to students during the Data Science Panel Discussion. Other panelists are (from left to right) Craig Hill, RTI; Dianne Fodell, IBM; and Pat Herbert, SAS.

The event, held on Monday, April 7, at the UCS office in Hanes Hall, kicked off with a dinner reception for the panelists, NCDS Data Science Faculty Fellows from four North Carolina academic institutions, and NCDS members.

The Data Science Industry Panel began at 6 p.m., and allowed experts from NCDS member institutions to speak about careers and internships in data science, curricula focus areas, and the future of the field. The four panelists were Monique Morrow, services CTO at Cisco, Dianne Fodell, Global University Program director at IBM, Craig Hill, senior vice president of survey, computing and statistical sciences at RTI International, and Pat Herbert, principal systems architect for Big Data at SAS Institute, Inc. Ashok Krishnamurthy, deputy director at NCDS founding member RENCI, moderated the panel discussion. These industry experts offered students a broad overview of the future of data science, details on data science jobs at their organizations, and advice on how to pursue a career in the field.

After the panel discussion, students, professors, panelists and other industry representatives gathered for an informal meet and greet, where students scribbled notes, exchanged contact information, and had the rare opportunity to talk informally with industry leaders.

More than 100 students from a variety of disciplines and majors attended the event, which career services associate director Tim Stiles deemed a “great success.

Students agreed with that assessment.

“I thought it went really well,” said Amy Roberts, a Ph.D. candidate in nutrition and epidemiology in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. “It was really interesting to hear from a variety of industry professionals, what they’re looking for in data sciences and to get a better sense of where someone with my background as a grad student might fit in.”

Andrew Chi, a Ph.D. candidate in computer science, said he was impressed by the caliber of the panelists. “They [the companies] sent some of their best people; Cisco sent their CTO of services,” he said. “This is somebody who’s actually really high up and really knows what the company’s direction is. It was very cool to hear about where Cisco is going and how they want people to be plugged into that position.”

Due to the great success of this event, the NCDS and UCS are planning a “Women in Data Science” event for fall 2014.

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4.05.14 iRODS 4.0 Data Management Tool Broadens Appeal Tue, 08 Apr 2014 19:07:45 +0000 4.05.14 Inside HPC – iRODS 4.0 Data Management Tool Broadens Appeal

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4.04.14 iRODS 4.0 Released Fri, 04 Apr 2014 19:03:21 +0000 4.04.14 Datanami – iRODS 4.0 Released

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4.03.14 UNC researchers develop new data tool catered to big corporations Fri, 04 Apr 2014 16:44:10 +0000 4.03.14 Triangle Business Journal – UNC researchers develop new data tool catered to big corporations

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4.03.14 iRODS 4.0 Released Fri, 04 Apr 2014 16:34:27 +0000 4.3.14 HPCwire – iRODS 4.0 Released

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4.02.14 iRODS 4.0 release brings popular data management tool to wider audience Wed, 02 Apr 2014 19:00:51 +0000 4.02.14 Super Computing Online News - iRODS 4.0 release brings popular data management tool to wider audience 

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iRODS 4.0 release brings popular data management tool to wider audience Wed, 02 Apr 2014 17:11:05 +0000 iRODS-Consortium-Logo-DarkChapel Hill, NC, April 2, 2014 – The iRODS Consortium today announced the release of iRODS 4.0, a sustainable and production-oriented version of the iRODS (integrated Rule-Oriented Data System) data management platform.

iRODS is a popular, highly configurable, open source technology used in high-demand production sites around the world for data management, sharing and integration. It was originally developed by the Data Intensive Cyber Environments (DICE) group at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). iRODS Consortium software developers at UNC’s Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), in collaboration with the DICE group, continue to develop and maintain iRODS, resulting in the 4.0 release.

“This is a major release that brings enterprise-quality production, using industry-accepted best practices for development and testing, to the open source data management community,” said Brand Fortner, PhD, executive director of the iRODS Consortium. “iRODS 4.0 is easy to install, easier to use, and makes iRODS a suitable data management solution for a much wider group of customers.”

Key features of the new iRODS release include:

• A plugin architecture, which enables easy customization of iRODS installations without recompiling the core code.

• A binary distribution, allowing users to click and use iRODS, eliminating the need to compile the installation.

• Resource composition, which allows users to create a hierarchy of iRODS resources.

The 4.0 release merges what was previously known as the iRODS community version with the version of iRODS developed at RENCI, called E-iRODS. The Consortium is committed to assisting users of all previous versions of iRODS in their transition to iRODS 4.0, said Fortner.

RENCI recently created the iRODS Consortium to work with universities, research organizations, businesses, and government agencies to guide the continued development of iRODS, obtain funding to support that development, and broaden the iRODS user community. Current consortium members include RENCI, the Max Planck Society, DataDirect Networks, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, EMC, and the DICE research group. Support for all versions of iRODS will be handled by the iRODS Consortium, prioritized by membership levels.

For more on iRODS and to download iRODS 4.0, visit

For more on the iRODS Consortium, visit


Media Contact:

Karen Green,

919.445.9648 (office)

919.619.8213 (mobile)

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4.02.14 iRODS 4.0 Release Brings Popular Data Management Tool to Wider Audience Wed, 02 Apr 2014 16:35:59 +0000 4.02.14 Newswise – iRODS 4.0 Release Brings Popular Data Management Tool to Wider Audience

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