Building Computing Tools for Scientists

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 16:30
TH 331
Deb Agarwal, Ph.D. (Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory)

Environmental sciences have been changing. Large-scale synthesis studies are becoming more common. These synthesis studies are often conducted by science teams that are geographically distributed and on datasets that are global in scale. A broad array of collaboration and data analytics tools are now available that could support these science teams. However, building tools that scientists actually use is hard. Also, moving scientists from an informal collaboration structure to one mediated by technology often exposes inconsistencies in the understanding of the rules of engagement between collaborators. We have developed a scientific collaboration portal, called, which serves the community of scientists providing and analyzing the global FLUXNET carbon-flux synthesis dataset and the National Soil Carbon Network. Through engagement with many different sciences, we have the opportunity to fundamentally change the scientists’ ability to make rapid progress in their science fields. In this talk, I will discuss some of our current projects and my experience from over 16 years of engagement with scientists and building computing tools for scientists.


Deb Agarwal is a Senior Staff Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and head of the Advanced Computing for Science Department. She is leading several teams developing cyber infrastructure to support scientific research. Her current projects are developing a data server infrastructure to enhance data browsing and analysis capabilities for eco-science and new computational modeling environments for environmental management and carbon capture at power plants. Dr. Agarwal holds a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from University of California, Santa Barbara and a BS in mechanical engineering from Purdue University.