An Analysis of the PEARC 2018 Science Gateways Community Institute Hackathon: Lessons Learned

Science Gateways are web portals on which data, software, instruments, and computing resources provide users, and scientists streamlined workflows through dynamically coded frontends. These web portals allow scientist to focus on research with little to no need to utilize programmatic skills. Hackathons are time-bounded events in which collaborators intensely focus on a given subject or problem in an effort to generate solutions. Hackathon events provide opportunities for participants with diverse backgrounds, mixed specialties, and broad skill sets to interact in a manner that promotes disruptive solutions. Hackathons come in a variety of different forms and serve many different purposes. These purposes include developing resources, infrastructure, practices, and culture for a community. The Science Gateways Community Institute team proposed a hackathon to introduce students attending the PEARC 2018 conference, to the concepts of Science Gateways. The aim of the hackathon was to stimulate interest in Science Gateways while developing projects that were of value to researchers from different disciplines. They believed that PEARC would be an ideal venue for this type of event, due to the community of researchers, students, and practitioners from various disciplines that were interested and skilled in the high-performance computing field attending the conference.

The Science Gateways Community Institute utilized a hackathon formatted event to provide students with an opportunity to collaborate and generate targeted skills while creating needed features for production web portals. The student participants included a group of 17 graduate and undergraduate students with predominately underrepresented minorities. The hackathon followed the PEARC 2018 conference held in Pittsburgh, PA. The science gateways targeted during the event were MyGeoHub (Purdue University), Cosmic2 (San Diego Supercomputing Center), and SimCCS (Indiana University) with associated mentors serving as subject matter experts. This poster presents organizational methods and technologies used to coordinate the international planning team, lessons learned during the event, and deliverables presented by the student teams.