"I think the fact that XSEDE opened this position attests to the fact that XSEDE takes the needs of the HASS community seriously and that it can benefit both the XSEDE community and the HASS community to work together", Alan Craig stated.
Sergiu Sanielevici, who leads XSEDE's Novel and Innovative Projects (NIP) programme, said Alan Craig is a vital link between the HASS community and traditional HPC users - like Sergiu Sanielevici - from hard sciences and engineering disciplines. "It is very hard for us to know who is ready to use XSEDE and what they will need to become successful users", stated Sergiu Sanielevici. He said that Alan Craig can use his experience and relationships with the HASS community to "determine which teams are most ready and likely to benefit from XSEDE services and translate their needs into requirements (XSEDE needs) to meet in order to successfully support their projects."
Novel applications of technology, especially in education, permeate Alan Craig's work. He helped pioneer the use of sound to depict scientific data. Now he is blurring the boundary between the real and digital worlds using augmented reality, which superimposes artificial enhancements on reality in real time using any of the five senses.
Alan Craig also serves as the senior associate director for human-computer interaction for the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (I-CHASS) at the University of Illinois and as principal investigator for the National Science Foundation-funded Early Concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER), awarded through I-CHASS to support development of an augmented reality application for mobile devices like smartphones and iPads. Using this technology, students can simulate archeological digs in their classrooms, interact with 3D molecules in their chemistry textbook from any perspective, and learn about native fauna using 3D colour images where before there were only black-and-white sketches.
For a newer project, Alan Craig will create a multimedia database using XSEDE's Gordon, a data-intensive supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) that went into production at the beginning of 2012. The database will facilitate academic analysis of digital media.
Alan Craig's goal in his new appointment is to help users communicate the "hidden story" in their data using visualizations and make their data widely accessible through on-line publication.
"I believe Alan Craig's appointment as liaison for HASS with XSEDE is a milestone moment", stated Kevin Franklin, executive director of I-CHASS. Kevin Franklin said it will "not only have a profound impact on HASS scholarship but will impact those disciplines that choose to pursue more interdisciplinary research."
Nancy Wilkins-Diehr, director of consulting, training and documentation at SDSC and co-manager of XSEDE's Extended Collaborative Support Services, stated: "We conducted a national search, advertising in major HPC venues, and were happy to find Alan right under our noses at NCSA."