ARM/ASR Open Science Workshop Draws an Engaged Audience

Published: 22 June 2022

Virtual sessions over 4 days provide opportunities for discussion and learning

The virtual world has opened the scientific community to new ways of research, connection, collaboration, and innovation. Science no longer is limited to work on a closed computer terminal or within laboratory walls.

A screenshot of the Decadal Vision Data Services slide lists the following bullet points: "flexible computing environment" with "ARM clusters, DOE leadership systems, and commercial cloud resources" underneath; "ARM Data Workbench;" and "open-source development."
During the ARM/ASR Open Science Virtual Workshop 2022, ARM Technical Director Jim Mather discussed how open science connects to ARM’s Decadal Vision. ARM provides resources that make it easier to work with its data, and additional tools are under development.

With support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility and Atmospheric System Research (ASR) program seek to make scientific research, data, and software more open and accessible.

The ARM/ASR Open Science Virtual Workshop 2022, held from May 10 to 13, provided a forum for discussion and discovery of open-science efforts within the atmospheric research community.

The workshop brought together people from DOE national laboratories, federal agencies, academia, and industry. ARM Instrument Operations Manager Adam Theisen, the workshop’s lead organizer, reported that 128 people attended at least one day.

There were 15 talks and 10 tutorials, all focused on aspects of open science related to the missions of ARM and ASR. (View the agenda.)

Federal Entities Embrace Open Science

On the first day, ARM Technical Director Jim Mather spoke about the connection of open science to ARM’s Decadal Vision. This document describes ARM’s plans for addressing increasingly complex scientific challenges over the next five to 10 years.

ARM is developing new tools for users to interact with its 3-plus petabytes of data, which are freely available online through Data Discovery.

This slide shows code from the Python ARM Radar Toolkit (Py-ART).
Zach Sherman of Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois hosted a tutorial on the Python ARM Radar Toolkit (Py-ART), which reads, visualizes, corrects, and analyzes weather radar data.

Users wanting to participate in open science can access computing resources at the ARM Data Center, such as its new high-performance computing cluster. ARM’s JupyterHub system connects multiple users working on a single project.

In addition, ARM supports the sharing of code that will make it easier to work with its data. ARM hosts areas on the GitHub software development platform where ARM staff and users, ASR scientists, and others in the scientific community can download and contribute code. (Learn more in this ARM article.)

“Our hope is that we can work together to move forward the analysis of these data in the most efficient and effective way,” said Mather.

Other federal agencies are also highly interested in open science.

Keynote speaker Chelle Gentemann, a NASA program scientist, introduced workshop attendees to the agency’s Transform to Open Science (TOPS) initiative. As part of TOPS, NASA has earmarked 2023 as the Year of Open Science, a global effort to inspire increased and deeper engagement in open science.

Open-Science Applications

This slide shows an example of a hailstone image from April 23, 2022, with the labels "lighting," "wet growth" and "dry growth."
University of North Dakota associate professor Aaron Kennedy developed a camera to image falling and blowing snow. Researchers can modify the camera to image other forms of precipitation. In this image of a hailstone, light coming from the left side enters the wet growth of the hailstone. The light is internally reflected through the wet growth, resulting in the dots. The more opaque area is the dry growth of the hailstone. One of Kennedy’s cameras will be at the ARM Mobile Facility site in Gothic, Colorado, as part of the ongoing Surface Atmosphere Integrated Field Laboratory (SAIL) campaign.

Throughout the workshop, researchers, developers, and engineers shared how they are creating and using open-source software. Examples of such software include toolkits for processing atmospheric and satellite data. ARM supports the Python ARM Radar Toolkit (Py-ART) and the Atmospheric data Community Toolkit (ACT).

The open-science movement has also expanded to hardware. Workshop presenter Aaron Kennedy, an ASR-funded researcher and associate professor at the University of North Dakota, developed a camera to image falling and blowing snow. The camera can also capture other forms of precipitation. On GitHub, Kennedy describes how people can buy parts and build their own version of the camera.

Tutorials allowed attendees to try out open-science computing resources that automatically launched on ARM’s JupyterHub system or on their own computers. Attendees practiced using the Python programming language, the Jupyter Notebook web application, GitHub, ARM Data Discovery, and open-source software packages.

Get Connected

If you could not attend the workshop or would like to rewatch a segment, you can view a playlist of talks and tutorials.

For more information about open-science activities within ARM and ASR, complete this form to join the mailing list.

# # #

ARM is a DOE Office of Science user facility operated by nine DOE national laboratories.