Computing is a high performance endeavor at NCEAS, whether we are dealing with optimization modeling, GIS applications, or other ecological computing applications. We strive to deliver sufficient power to address extremely computationally challenging problems, and to provide excellent computing and technical support for resident and remote researchers. In keeping with our scientific mission of collaboration and synthesis, we actively research and promote open-source, non-proprietary computing solutions that can be communally developed and easily shared among researchers. NCEAS visitors have access to advanced PC, Macintosh, and Linux workstations running a broad range of software for accomplishing all phases of ecological analysis. High performance computing is available for memory- and/or processor-intensive modeling, statistical, visualization, and data management projects.
NCEAS' computing systems are maintained by our resident scientific computing staff, who are also available to provide analytical and general technical support and advice. Areas of staff expertise include statistical analysis and experimental design, programming in a variety of 3GL and 4GL languages, server and desktop computer hardware and software support, database design and implementation, and data management. Several staff have graduate degrees in the ecological sciences in addition to their technical skills. We seek to provide high-end, scalable solutions to computing needs in ways that ecologists will find easy to learn and use. We also closely follow emerging technical and analytical developments, testing or implementing these where relevant towards enhancing innovative, collaborative, and integrative research in the ecological sciences. Training visiting scientists to use robust and scalable software for data analysis, and familiarizing them with network-based opportunities for collaboration, are among our high priorities.
Our services are divided into three main topic areas:
- Desktop and tech support
We maintain a modern technology infrastructure and assist NCEAS clients in using it in a timely manner. The highly trained staff manages essential services for both visitors and residents, including wireless and wired networking, email, web sites, shared file systems, a large library of scientific software, and well-equipped desktop systems throughout our facility. Additional computing and technical services are available upon request, and we can work with you to develop novel solutions to technical challenges you might encounter.
- Scientific computing
We provide specialized services for analysis and informatics. Areas of expertise include data acquisition and integration, statistical analysis and modeling, and data documentation and archiving. Our scientific programmers/quantitative analysts are available for consultation on a variety of critical computational tasks, such as:
- Organizing and managing complex data sets
- Locating and acquiring additional data sets
- Selecting appropriate quantitative methods and scientific software
- Designing custom analytical solutions
- Describing and registering data products with Ecological Metadata Language
- Online collaboration services for working groups
For working groups in particular, we provide an array of services that facilitate online collaboration among participants even after you have returned to your respective institutions.