The Establishment of the NSF Spatiotemporal Innovation Center

Many 21st century challenges, such as natural disasters and cross disciplinary discoveries, happen in both space and time. Spatiotemporal principles/patterns are critical to address the challenges. It is essential to systematically investigate spatiotemporal principles/patterns to advance human knowledge and provide trailblazing new thinking, methodology and tools for next generation computing and applications.

In the summer of 2013, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry & University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) Program funded three universities to establish the center for spatiotemporal thinking, computing, and applications. The three collaborating universities of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), George Mason (GMU), and Harvard will each take the leadership in thinking, computing and application respectively. Numerous government and industry sponsors are included as partners in the research. See:

Directed by Dr. Chaowei Phil Yang (GMU, director), Dr. Keith Clarke (UCSB, co-director), and Dr. Peter Bol (Harvard, co-director), the spatiotemporal innovation center is projected to receive over $2M/year research funding in collaboration with agencies and industry. Through long term investigation and the expansion to other qualified and complementary universities, the center is targeted to build the national and international spatiotemporal infrastructure to advance a) human intelligence through spatiotemporal thinking, b) computer software and tools through spatiotemporal computing, and c) human capability of responding to deep scientific questions and grand engineering challenges through spatiotemporal applications.

Site Directors
GMU Site: Chaowei Phil Yang (cyang3 at and Paul Houser (phouser at
UCSB Site: Keith Clarke (kclarke at and Jeff Doizer (jdoizer at
Harvard Site: Peter Bol (pkbol at and Wendy Guan (wguan at

Center Evaluator
Dr. Don Price, Univ. of Florida, drprice at
Center website:
NSF I/UCRC program website:

Professor Chaowei (Phil) Yang (PI) and Dr. Chen Xu (Co-PI) receive $288K from NSF

This EarthCube conceptual design project is to develop a data-oriented and human-centric EarthCube enterprise architecture for achieving the goal of EarthCube as a community-driven activity to transform the conduct of geoscience research and education. The proposed EarthCube enterprise architecture will have geoscientists and domain experts at its center and facilitate them to communicate and collaborate through data sharing, and ultimately bring geosciences forward in a holistic fashion. This project seeks to design a conceptual architecture that can bring geoscientists, computing scientists, and social scientists together to collaborate on networks of data, technology, applications, business models, and stakeholders.

NSF ICER-1343759: EarthCube Conceptual Design:Developing a Data-Oriented Human-centric Enterprise Architecture for EarthCube

Chaowei Yang, Chen Xu, George Mason Univ.
Carol Meyer, Federation of Earth Science Information Partners

The NSF I/UCRC spatiotemporal center planning meeting was successfully held on 8/14-15, 2012

The center planning meeting for the NSF I/UCRC for spatiotemporal thinking, computing and applications was successfully held on Aug 14th and 15th at George Mason University, Fairfax. About 50 participants from government agencies, companies, and associations gathered at Johnson Center to discuss the possibility, viability, sustainability for establishing an industry/university cooperative research center among the three sites of George Mason University (GMU), University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Harvard University (Harvard). Based on the center for spatial studies and national center for geographic information analyses at UCSB, the GMU center intelligent spatial computing, and the Harvard center for geographic analysis, the new center is planned to conduct innovation-focused and deliverable-oriented research for the next 5-15 years to build the spatiotemporal infrastructure base for enabling the potential solutions to many 21st century challenges by advancing a) human intelligence through spatiotemporal thinking, b) computer software and tools through spatiotemporal computing, and c) human capability of responding to deep scientific questions and grand engineering challenges through spatiotemporal applications. GMU Vice President for Research (Dr. Roger Stough), Senior Associate Dean (Dr. Evans Mandes), and GGS department chair (Dr. Peggy Agouris) welcomed the guests. Drs. Keith Clarke and Jeff Dozier (UCSB), Drs. Peter Bol and Wendy Guan (Harvard), and Drs. Chaowei Yang and Paul Houser led the effort from the three sites. George Mason University serves as the leading site.
Center Website:
Meeting site:

Profs. Songqing Chen (PI) and Chaowei (Phil) Yang (co-PI) receive $425K from NSF

Profs. Songqing Chen (PI), of the computer Science department, and Chaowei (Phil) Yang (co-PI). from COS, received $425,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for their project "CSR: Small: System Research to Advance Real-time Dust Storm Forecasting." The period of performance is 08-15-2011 to 07-31-2014.

CISC Members Help Organize and Participate in the ESIP Summer Meeting, Santa Fe, NM, July, 2011

Four CISC members (Dr. Chaowei Yang, Dr. Abdelmounaam Rezgui, Kai Liu, and Jizhe Xia) participated in the 2011 ESIP summer meeting that was held in Santa Fe, NM between July 12 and July 15. Dr. Yang organized a full day workshop on cloud computing. The workshop, held on July 14, had four sessions: (i) an introduction to cloud computing, (ii) a hands on session, (iii) a session on applications and studies, and (iv) a panel discussion. In the second session of this workshop, Dr. Rezgui presented a tutorial on building and deploying spatial applications on Microsoft Azure. The workshop attracted many Earth scientists who are already using the clouds and others who are exploring the benefits of cloud computing for their respective scientific applications. To further foster the community's interest, Dr. Yang invited Dr. Juan Vargas, a principal research manager with Microsoft to give a plenary talk about Microsoft's Azure Academic Engagement Program.

The annual election of members of the SURAgrid Governance Committee was completed on May 28, 2010, with the following individuals selected for the Committee:

John-Paul Robinson - University of Alabama at Birmingham (returning SGC member)
Art Vandenberg - Georgia State University (returning SGC member)
Chaowei (Phil) Yang - George Mason University (new SGC member)
These individuals are elected to 2 year terms on the SURAgrid Governance Committee and a 4th open SGC position will be filled using a special election and will be one of the first orders of business for the new SGC.
Returning members of SGC are midway through their 2-year terms expiring May 2011:
Gary Crane - SURA (Gary is a SURA appointed member of the SGC)
David Matthews-Morgan - University of Georgia
Phil Smith - Texas Tech University
Eduardo Adolfo Socolovsky - Norfolk State University
Nicholas Tsinoremas - University of Miami
We look forward to an important year for SURAgrid as we continue to explore ways our community can work together to implement and access local, regional and national cyberinfrastructre services in support of our campuses.

The Uniportal v1.0 opensource to the public on June 2, 2010

WMS UniPortal is a unified geospatial portal which is focusing on OGC Web Services to allow users to search their interested WMS in a comprehensive WMS library efficiently. Following is the main functionalities of this UniPortal:
1). A crawler to crawl the WMS on the internet, especially from these popular geospatial portals and catalogues such as GOS and ESG. The crawler is running on daily basis, which analysises the collected WMSs and imports them into the database.
2). Download and parse these WMSs’ capability files, analysis and store all the WMSs information (such as version, abstract, and keyword) and layers information (such as bounding box, reference system, time series) in the database. This background process is running on a daily basis.
3). Test and score the performance of GetCapabilities request and each layer’s GetMap request for all the WMSs on a daily basis. All the score data is stored in the database.
4). UniPortal provides the graphic interactive interface for users to search all the WMSs on a layer basis, the query criteria can be keyword, service version, geographic region, time dimension, service/layer performance score and so on.
5). UniPortal provides capability of multiple dimensions visualization of WMS. For example, display the WMS on Google Earth and animate the time-enabled WMSs.
6). UniPortal provides multi-user account management, once users login, they can manage their own WMS list and saved map list.

CISC members attend ESIP summer meeting in Knoxville, TN, July 2010

The CISC members attended the ESIP summer meeting in Knoxville, TN, July 19-23, 2010. This is the first time that the group hosted two workshops as well as contributed four posters. Two workshops, “Cloud computing” and “GEOSS clearinghouse,” were offered on Tuesday with an audience of more than 40 in each workshop. The poster session was held on Wednesday and presented by Dr Huayi Wu, Qunying Huang, Min Sun, Jing Li and Kai Liu. In Friday’s funding competition, our student members, Qunying Huang, Min Sun and Jing Li won the student funding of 3000 USD and three memberships to the ESIP winter meeting in Washington, DC. The funding project is expected to be finished before the ESIP winter meeting in 2011. Congratulations to them on their success.

Cloud Computing Workshop, ESIP summer meeting in Knoxville, TN

Cloud Computing for Earth Science was hosted on Tuesday, July 20, from 1:30pm-3:00pm with an audience of more than 40. Qunying Huang represented Dr.Yang and gave a 40 minute presentation about the Cloud Computing for Earth Science. During the presentation, the concept and examples of Cloud Computing, cloud computing services, cloud computing platforms, how to deploy applications on Amazon EC2, and spatial cloud computing (which was researched and developed by the Joint Center of Intelligent Spatial Computing (CISC, were introduced. There were inspiring and encouraging discussions between the audience and Miss Huang. Afterwards, demos were presented on the research of Cloud Computing conducted by CISC, including how to deploy Earth Science applications on Amazon EC2 and CISC Cloud Computing Platform.

Metadata Standards in GEOSS Clearinghouse Workshop, ESIP summer meeting in Knoxville, TN

Metadata Standards in GEOSS Clearinghouse Workshop was presented on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, from 3:30pm-5:00pm with an audience of more than 40. Dr. Wu represented Dr. Yang and gave a presentation about the Metadata Standards in GEOSS Clearinghouse Workshop. During the presentation, metadata standards, metadata standards in GEOSS Clearinghouse, GEOSS Clearinghouse capabilities, metadata transformations in GEOSS Clearinghouse were introduced, and demos were presented on GEOSS Clearinghouse. Afterwards, Dr. Wu discussed and answered the questions the audience had. The answers were impressive and cheering.

Dr. Yang and Dr. Wu Joined the 11th Microsoft Faculty Summit and the 2010 Environmental Research Workshop, July 14, 2010, Fairfax, VA

The eleventh annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit was held in Redmond, WA, on July 12-13, 2010. The summit brought together more than 400 thought leaders from academia, government, and Microsoft to reflect on how current computing disciplines open new opportunities for research and development. Immediately following this 2-day summit was the 2010 Microsoft Environmental Research Workshop, which was held on July 14. Dr. Chaowei Yang and Dr. Huayi Wu from CISC were invited to join the two events and give presentations at the workshop. Dr. Yang introduced the background and requirements of environmental science modeling utilizing cloud computing. Dr. Wu presented a demonstration on the geospatial web portal, BingEO, a seamless integration and visualization platform for heterogeneous and distributed earth observation data based on Bing Map.
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