Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The University of Iowa is at the forefront of revolutionizing water science training through a new project titled Inclusive Cyberinfrastructure and Machine Learning Training to Advance Water Science Research. Ibrahim Demir, an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Bijaya Adhikari, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, won a $125,000 award from the National Science Foundation to contribute hydroinformatics and machine learning training to this cutting-edge initiative led by Clemson University. Together, the interdisciplinary team will foster a new era of science education and research by bridging the gap between hydrology and computer science. 

Dr. Demir, Dr. Adhikari, and their collaborators’ study focuses on the development of advanced cyberinfrastructure (CI) that integrates machine learning modeling, data analytics, cloud computing, and practices that promote open and reproducible software. Despite the rapid advancements in these technologies, there remains a significant lag in the water science community and current educational curricula in adapting to these changes. Dr. Demir and Dr. Adhikari aim to bridge this gap through a unique approach that combines hands-on training with the creation of new, open-source CI tools and educational materials. The University of Iowa team will train students on data analytics and visualization using HydroSuite, a collection of software libraries and tools designed by the UI Hydroinformatics Lab directed by Dr. Demir. 

Over the next three years, the project will host recurring two-week-long immersive workshops designed to train both users and contributors of CI. This innovative approach not only aims to increase the adoption of advanced CI models across various water science disciplines but also promotes the development of open, interoperable, reproducible, and accessible CI tools. Such tools are essential for the scientific community to swiftly integrate new findings and develop robust workflows. 

The NSF-funded project promises to elevate water science research by promoting holistic CI and analytics approaches and empowering a new generation of researchers to navigate and overcome the challenges in CI applications for water science. Furthermore, it aims to foster diversity in the water science field by leveraging multiple diversity programs to recruit participants from underrepresented groups across a wide range of educational institutions. 

The ambitious initiative not only sets the stage for a transformative shift in water science research and education but also paves the way for creating a more inclusive, innovative, and collaborative scientific community. Through the support of the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure and the Directorate for Geosciences, the University of Iowa is leading the charge towards a future where water science can fully harness the power of cyberinfrastructure and machine learning.

Bijaya Adhikari
NSF logo
Ibrahim Demir portrait - submitted