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PRAGMA-GLEON Expedition, 2014

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The Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant Number DBI RCN 0639229 and MSB 1137327, 1137353 and other generous donors. This blog receives technical support from the Center for Limnology (CFL) at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Any information, opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF, CFL, Cary Institute, GLEON or GLEON Student Association (GSA).


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by Meilan Jiang

The Pacific Rim Application and Grid Middleware Assembly (PRAGMA) 26th meeting was held in Taiwan in April with the underlying theme of “Living with Big Data.” Recent efforts of the GLEON – PRAGMA collaborative scientific expedition were shared at a group session in the meeting, and challenges and milestones of this collaboration were identified.

The PRAGMA 27th meeting will be held in October at Indiana University Bloomington just before the GLEON meeting. The new conceptual interdisciplinary challenge, a “Hackathon,” will be operated at PRAGMA 27, and GLEON members are encouraged to participate in this event.

Photo: GLEON and PRAGMA people enjoyed the dinner with Taiwanese traditional performance group.

GLEON and PRAGMA members enjoyed the dinner with Taiwanese traditional performance group, “The voice of Namasia” (front). From the top left, Paul Hanson, Zhenguo Cui, Craig Snortheim, Meilan Jiang, Gabriel Zhou, Fang-Pang Lin, and Lilian Chan.

PRAGMA is a community of practice comprising individuals and institutions from around the Pacific Rim that actively collaborate with, and enable, small- to medium-sized groups to solve their problems with information technology. PRAGMA forges collaborative, multidisciplinary teams to address scientific questions of high societal impact (from Among the major science expeditions, the collaboration with GLEON is defined as “predicting impact of eutrophication on Lake Ecosystem services.”

GLEON and PRAGMA have had  a synergistic relationship since the beginning of GLEON. GLEON was co-founded by PRAGMA personnel, and shares a grassroots organizational model, values and identity.

PRAGMA gained experiences from GLEON’s successful student leadership model  through the GLEON Student Association (GSA), and formed PRAGMA Students (P.S) in 2012. GLEON and PRAGMA co-hosted the workshop on “big environmental data” in Taiwan in December 2012, and recent efforts of shared scientific expedition on Lake Eutrophication added further ties to each other.

PRAGMA Student leadership was inspired by GLEON Student Association (GSA), and now takes important role in the society,

PRAGMA Student leadership was inspired by GLEON Student Association (GSA), and now it plays a major role in the PRAGMA society. Illustration from

Multiple GLEON scientists, including Paul Hanson (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Craig Snortheim (UW-Madison) and Cayelan Carey (Virginia Tech), attended the PRAGMA 26 meeting to move the GLEON-PRAGMA expedition forward. During the meeting, P.S successfully organized a student workshop, that featured multiple research presentations and a panel discussions by PRAGMA students and researchers.

As the founding member of the GSA, Cayelan gave an opening talk to the P.S session to share her experiences with the GSA. She pointed out the value of students and importance of encouraging the student activity from the sense of PRAGMA as a living society.

Paul led the “lake expedition” with Reed Beaman (University of Florida), who is in charge of the “biodiversity expedition,” and shared the value of interdisciplinary communication.

Progress related to the expeditions was shared, and the majority of participants agreed that student engagements will enhance the potential of PRAGMA projects and collaboration. The discussion suggested bringing GLEON and PRAGMA students together, which led to the concept  of “Hackathon.” Hackathon is a term used for a workshop or session where interdisciplinary experts work together to achieve a goal. It usually involves a programming session.

Paul Hanson and Cayelan Carey from GLEON gave talks during the PRAGMA meeting,

Paul Hanson (left) and Cayelan Carey (right) from GLEON gave talks during the PRAGMA meeting

The first attempt of a Hackathon will be made within the context of numerical simulation, and P.S are organizing an “Expedition Programming Challenge” session at PRAGMA 27 on 15th October 2014, at Indiana University Bloomington. It offers an opportunity for both undergraduate and graduate students, from PRAGMA and GLEON. This 2.5 day activity will allow students to learn some of the important computing-related problems in several cross-disciplinary applications and will hear details of the specific issues they can choose to solve. It will be a great opportunity to enhance cross-disciplinary collaboration in the PRAGMA community and strengthen research by carefully selected programming challenges. (PRAGMA 27 15-17th October 2014,

We expect more active collaborations between GLEON and PRAGMA to create more research opportunities by narrowing down the gaps of knowledge and understandings between the IT and ecology field in the near future.

The author would like to acknowledge the following funding for making the PRAGMA meetings possible:

Scientific expedition, SAVI funding

PRAGMA 26, National Center for High-Performance Computing, Tainan, Taiwan

PRAGMA 27, Indiana University, Bloomington, United States

For more information, contact:

Meilan Jiang
Ph.D. candidate, Konkuk University, South Korea
PRAGMA Student Committee Member

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