Leptoukh Award Winners

2015 Leptoukh Lecture

To be announced

2014 Leptoukh Lecture

Bryan Lawrence

Director of Models and Data at the UK National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Professor of Weather and Climate Computing at the University of Reading, and the Director of the STFC Centre for Environmental Data Archival (CEDA).

Trends in Computing for Climate Research

The grand challenges of climate science will stress our informatics infrastructure severely in the next decade. Our drive for ever greater simulation resolution/complexity/length/repetition, coupled with new remote and in-situ sensing platforms present us with problems in computation, data handling, and information management, to name but three. These problems are compounded by the background trends: Moore’s Law is no longer doing us any favours: computing is getting harder to exploit as we have to bite the parallelism bullet, and Kryder’s Law (if it ever existed) isn’t going to help us store the data volumes we can see ahead. The variety of data, the rate it arrives, and the complexity of the tools we need and use, all strain our ability to cope. The solutions, as ever, will revolve around more and better software, but “more” and “better” will require some attention.

In this talk we discuss how these issues have played out in the context of CMIP5, and might be expected to play out in CMIP6 and successors. Although the CMIPs will provide the thread, we will digress into modelling per se, regional climate modelling (CORDEX), observations from space (Obs4MIPs and friends), climate services (as they might play out in Europe), and the dependency of progress on how we manage people in our institutions. It will be seen that most of the issues we discuss apply to the wider environmental sciences, if not science in general. They all have implications for the need for both sustained infrastructure and ongoing research into environmental informatics.


2013 Leptoukh Lecture


Simon Cox is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO. He trained as geophysicist, with a PhD in experimental rock mechanics from Columbia (Lamont-Doherty) following degrees in geological sciences at Cambridge and Imperial College London. He came to Australia for a post-doc with CSIRO, and then spent four years teaching at Monash University in Melbourne where he first began using GIS. Returning to CSIRO in Perth in 1994 to work on information management for the Australian Geodynamics CRC, he moved its focus for reporting onto the emerging World Wide Web, deploying a web-mapping system for Australian geology and geophysics in 1995. The challenge of maintaining the AGCRC website led to metadata-based systems, and Simon’s engagement with the standards community when he joined the Dublin Core Advisory Council.

Work on XML-based standards for mineral exploration data led on to foundation of the GeoSciML project in collaboration with a number of geological surveys. An interest in tying these into broader interoperability systems led to engagement with the Open Geospatial Consortium, where he co-edited the Geography Markup Language (GML) v2 and v3. In OGC he developed Observations and Measurements as a common language for in situ, ex situ and remote sensing, going on to become an ISO standard, and forming the basis for operational systems in diverse fields including air-traffic, water data transfer and environmental monitoring applications. In 2009-10 he spent a year as a senior fellow at the EC Joint Research Centre in Italy working on integration of GEOSS and INSPIRE. He served on the council of the IUGS Commission for Geoscience Information and the International Association for Mathematical Geosciences. In 2006 he was awarded OGC’s highest honor, the Gardels medal. He has been a member of AGU since 1982. Simon is currently based in CSIRO Land and Water in Melbourne, working on a variety of projects across environmental informatics and spatial data systems.

2013 presentation at AGU