Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Daphne Siefert-Herron
Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University

Last modified: Monday, September 20, 2010

IU Data to Insight Center welcomes new staff to support rapid growth


September 20, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Data to Insight Center (D2I), part of Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI) at Indiana University, has just announced the addition of several new staff members. Led by computer scientist and School of Informatics and Computing faculty member Beth Plale, the Center focuses on three research thrusts: Scientific data preservation and sustainability, climate and the environment, and data at scale. D2I has received funding for several new research projects in recent months and is experiencing a period of rapid growth.

Plale image

Photo by Chris Meyer

Beth Plale

Print-Quality Photo

"We are especially pleased that, despite the difficult national research funding environment, D2I has been quite competitive, and we are actually experiencing a period of significant growth," said Plale. "Our recent hires represent a significant pool of technical expertise recruited and retained from within Indiana. I am confident that these highly talented individuals will help D2I continue to succeed in obtaining new funded research projects, and in developing novel technologies and tools within our three research thrusts."

The Center's new hires include the following postdoctoral fellows:

Stacy Kowalczyk came to D2I from the IU Digital Library Program, with focuses on scientific data preservation and data at scale thrusts. Kowalczyk is currently working with Plale and her team in the area of data preservation on the HathiTrust Research Center project. That project is striving to establish a center that will allow research access to HathiTrust, a collective digital repository for the nation's largest research libraries.

Scott Jensen joined D2I upon receiving his PhD in computer science from IU in August 2010. Jensen leads and contributes to projects related to all of D2I's thrusts. Jensen developed XMC Cat, a catalog of metadata or "data about data" that allows scientists to more quickly locate the specific data useful to their research. He also participates in the International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) initiative, which examines how forests and people dependent upon forests are affected by various governance arrangements.

Mehmet Aktas joins D2I in September 2010, bringing a strong background in computer science systems. Aktas will contribute to D2I's work related to data at scale, contributing to projects such as NetKarma, and InstantKarma. NetKarma helps scientists understand the complex environments and circumstances under which scientific experiments are performed in order to assist with reproducibility. InstantKarma works to improve the collection, preservation, utility, and dissemination of provenance information (details on when, where, and how data were created) for use specifically within NASA and the earth science community.

Gamal El Afandi, who also joins D2I this month, is an atmospheric scientist with collaborative ties to Purdue University and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Afandi's research will support D2I's thrust on sustainability, climate, and environment via the LEAD II project. LEAD II is a second generation of the successful National Science Foundation-funded project Linked Environments for Atmospheric Discovery (LEAD). Funded in part by Microsoft, Inc., LEAD II explores research challenges in hybrid computing and the manipulation and use of weather data in non-weather applications.

Felix Terkhorn joined D2I in April 2010 and was recently promoted to research technologist. With Terkhorn's expertise, LEAD II has been successful in producing short-term, highly-accurate weather forecasts each morning, and making the results instantly available to field scientists using mobile phones and a field viewer.

About the Data to Insight Center

The Data to Insight Center (D2I) undertakes research to harness the vast stores of digital data being produced by modern computational resources, allowing scientists and companies to make better use of these data and find the important meaning that lies within them. D2I creates tools and visualizations for working with very large data sets, develops methods to ensure data provenance (quality and authenticity), and builds methods for listing and discovering data sets. D2I is part of Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI) at Indiana University. Funded by a $15 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., PTI is dedicated to the development and delivery of innovative information technology and policy to advance research, education, industry, and society.