Edward Seidel, assistant director for mathematics and physical sciences at the National Science Foundation spoke on Oct. 14 about how information technology is transforming research.
The talk is part of the University Speaker Series, held in the Speakers Auditorium of the university's student center at 44 Courtland St. All speaker events are free and open to the public.
At the speech, entitled "The Data and Computer-Driven Transformation of Modern Science," Seidel discusses the evolution of supercomputing, high-speed networking, data storage and software development on a national level. The session is the first in a series of forums focused on topics important to the university's strategic plan.
The renowned physicist said that after centuries of little change, computer, data and network environments have grown by 9 to 12 orders of magnitude in the last few decades.
"Modern science is undergoing a profound transformation as it aims to tackle the complex problems of the 21st century," Seidel said. "It is becoming highly collaborative; problems as diverse as climate change, renewable energy, or the origin of gamma-ray bursts require understanding processes that no single group or community alone has the skills to address.
"The dramatic change of culture and methodology of science will require a much more integrated and comprehensive approach to development and deployment of hardware, software, and algorithmic tools and environments supporting research, education, and increasingly collaboration across disciplines," he added.
Seidel is a graduate of Yale University and is recognized for his work on numerical relativity and black holes, as well as in high performance and grid computing. In 2003, Louisiana State University recruited Seidel to lead its investment in the Governor's Information Technology Initiative, and he became founding director of LSU's Center for Computation & Technology, where he served for the next four and a half years. In June of 2008, the NSF selected Seidel as its director for the Office of Cyberinfrastructure. He recently assumed the role of assistant director for mathematics and physical sciences at NSF.