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Spotlight on 2019 Research Computing Days

Research Computing and the Inclusive Computing Initiative Committee co-hosted the 2019 Research Computing Days (RC Days) February 11 and 12 to celebrate the impact of data science, scientific programming, and computing skills to education, research, and the 21st century workforce. Sponsored by the Office of Information Technology and the Division of Research and Economic Development, RC Days gathered 120+ students, faculty, professional staff, and community members from a range of domains and career stages.

2019 saw a 20% growth in attendance over 2018, with more than 20 Boise State departments represented, and attendees from industry, the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Idaho State University, University of Idaho, the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, the Boise VA Medical Center, and the Oregon Institute of Technology.

Faculty and student volunteers presented hands-on Software Carpentry coding workshops to introduce the basics for grappling with data. Workshops included Unix shell, version control with Git, and programming languages in R and Python. In addition to Software Carpentry workshops and hands-on cluster labs, new to the 2019 program was an industry panel, with guests from NVIDIA, Micron, HP, Idaho Power, and INL; cloud computing tutorials presented by Amazon Web Services (if you missed it, check out the presentation here); and a poster competition.

Congratulations to Research Computing Days poster winners:

First Place: Evan Miller, Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering, “Accelerated Prediction of Self-Assembly and Charge Transport in Organic Solar Cells”

Second Place: Matt Clark, Human Environment Systems, College of Innovation and Design, “Bringing Forecasting into the Future: Using Google to Predict Visitation in U.S. National Parks”

Third Place: Garrett Tisdale, Department of Physics, “Analysis of Transcriptional Bursting Data via Unsupervised Clustering Reveals Gene Specific Heterogeneity”

Overwhelmingly attendees wanted more and longer workshops, with even more advanced offerings next year, and said to definitely keep computing labs, industry panel, and guest speakers. In the words of attendees:

  • Definitely keep Software Carpentry…I would send my postdocs, techs, and students every year.”
  • “Great examples and explanation. Good balance between work and explanation.”
  • Excellent demos complete with ‘breaking’ the code to show limitations.”
  • “Super clear and beginner friendly!”

Thank you to our sponsors, presenters, and volunteer workshop facilitators. Please contact Mendi Edgar in OIT Research Computing at with questions about Researching Computing Days.

Mark your calendars for next year’s event, February 11 and 12, 2020!