The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 5th

UNC touts new hires with data expertise

The School of Information and Library Science can now boast the $10 million research portfolio of a world-renowned digital information group. The Data Intensive Cyber Environments group, recently recruited from University of California-San Diego, collects and organizes large amounts of data and keeps it in the most recent and usable format for use. DICE's past projects have included earthquake simulation and biomedical brain imaging, but their UNC undertakings will be more academically minded. "We didn't bring the group here to operate in a similar environment, we brought them in to operate in the academic environment," said José-Marie Griffiths, dean of SILS. DICE's new initiatives might include genome projects and digital libraries. When DICE members came to visit UNC in March, Griffiths said, student interest was high. "The whole atmosphere seemed to be very energetic," said Paul Tooby, community development coordinator for DICE. Soon, office space was created, salaries were offered, and UNC was able to persuade the world-renowned group to become Tar Heels. Four members of DICE will remain in San Diego working through a subcontract, but all others will move to North Carolina throughout the year. "Much of the work at DICE is going to be multi-institutional," Griffiths said. "We felt it was actually going to be good for them." And much of their work will be collaborative. DICE will continue to work on old projects from the San Diego Supercomputer Center while taking on new academic initiatives at UNC. "Our history is more coming from the science community," Tooby said. "This will open up more of the digital library kinds of collaborations." But Tooby also said DICE was involved with the sharing of their collected information, creating data grids that allow people all over the world to share information in an organized manner. Members of DICE that do move to North Carolina will be based in Chapel Hill's Renaissance Computing Institute, located on Europa Drive. "We're excited to have this very well-respected, world-renowned group here," said Karen Green, spokeswoman for RENCI. "We look forward to some exciting collaborations with the DICE group and with SILS in general." Griffiths said that three members of DICE already are at UNC and are becoming more familiar with the campus atmosphere while continuing to work on their previous projects. The group is expected to take on their new digital creation projects soon, which Griffiths said will allow SILS to move quickly. "That will allow us to raise our own sights and our own expectations of our own abilities," she said. Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.


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