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Partner Highlight: eScience Institute

Partner Highlight: eScience Institute

About: The eScience Institute (https://escience.washington.edu/) is the hub of data-intensive discovery at the University of Washington. The institute empowers researchers and students in all fields to answer fundamental questions through the use of large, complex, and noisy data, and leads a community of innovators in the techniques, technologies, and best practices of data science and the fields that depend on them. 

Why eScience participates in ESIP: Our partnership with ESIP helps us advance our shared goals in developing tools to solve critical environmental issues. We regularly attend ESIP workshops, where we have an opportunity to stay connected with the latest activities in the Earth science community. This enables us to adapt our research and educational priorities in a way that best meets the diverse needs of earth science practitioners. ESIP also provides us with a forum for sharing information about ongoing eScience Institute activities such as our geospatially-themed hackweeks. Finally, ESIP’s Lab Incubator program has generously funded several projects led by eScience Institute investigators.


Hackweeks: The eScience Institute has hosted multiple hackweeks that complement ESIP’s educational and community-building mission. Hackweeks are short workshops that encourage peer-learning, community building and training in open source toolkits within a welcoming learning environment.  Geohackweek has the widest scope of educational content that includes training in remote sensing image processing using open source toolkits. Oceanhackweek and Waterhackweek have content tailored to the needs of the oceanography and hydrology communities. ICESat2 Hackweek aims to build a community early in the life cycle of a NASA satellite mission so as to maximize opportunities for collaboration, to democratize access to new data products, and to guide researchers in the use of new cloud computing tools to handle large data volumes. 

eScience Institute hackweeks intentionally welcome participants from diverse backgrounds in an effort to include communities who may have limited access to data science educational opportunities. ESIP has supported us in this cause by offering funding to a waterhackweek participant from Puerto Rico to explore data science tools to develop cyberinfrastructure for post-hurricane data management. ESIP has also been a supportive partner in helping us advertise our event within the Earth sciences community.

Incubator Projects: ESIP’s Lab Incubator project has enabled eScience Institute researchers to explore innovative research ideas that explore the use of satellite imagery. Recent Cubesat technologies have provided high spatial and temporal resolution earth imagery. Leveraging these products for scientific investigations is challenging due to the large data volumes involved. Our ESIP-funded efforts are exploring cloud computing and machine learning technologies to address these challenges. In one project we are building serverless workflows to explore patterns in wildflower growth across sub alpine meadows. In another project we are integrating Cubesat imagery with concurrent airborne and ground observations to build snow cover classification maps that can better inform changes in alpine ecosystems and water supplies for downstream communities.

Quick Facts
ESIP Member Type: II
Joined ESIP: 2019
ESIP Voting Rep: Sarah Stone