Over 350 international participants for eScience Conference 2018

2 Nov 2018 - 8 min

From 29 October – 1 November 2018 over 350 people participated in the fourteenth International eScience Conference. The conference successfully brought together leading international researchers and offered a platform for digital technologies to advance research – from the humanities to the physical sciences.

There was a varied program with accepted talks, workshops, tutorials, a poster session and reception, a special session on Open Science, a canal cruise through Amsterdam’s city center and a conference dinner at the Dutch National Maritime Museum which included the award ceremony for the Dutch Young eScientist 2018.

Conference highlights

Special features

The conference featured a Workshop & Tutorial day (read more below) and a Parallel Focus Session day – in the latter we provided a stage for researchers in academic disciplines to present how digital technology is advancing their research. The Parallel Focus Sessions covered the research themes “Weather & Climate Science in the Digital Era”, “Data Handling and Analytics for Health”, “Advances in eScience for the Humanities and Social Sciences” and “Exascale Computing for High Energy Physics” (read more below).


Several keynote speakers were invited for the conference – two for the plenary sessions eScience and five for the different Parallel Focus Sessions. The conference kicked-off with a keynote by Melissa Terras (University of Edinburgh, UK) on “Data Science or Data Humanities? Opportunities for Digitally Enabled Analysis of History, Culture and Society”. Joeri van Leeuwen (ASTRON, the Netherlands), gave the final keynote of the conference on “Real-time analysis in data-intensive Astronomy”. Other invited keynotes were Wessel Kraaij (Leiden University), Tony Veale (University College Dublin), Peter P. Neilley (The Weather Company), Miron Livny (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and Kate Jones (University College London).

Open Science Session

On the first day of the conference a special session on Open Science was organized in collaboration with the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Netherlands Collaborative organisation for ICT in Dutch education and research (SURF): “Making Open Science a reality: Rewards, Incentives & Support”.

In this interactive session, Stan Gielen, President NWO will joined up with Erik Fledderus, CEO of SURF to discuss the changes needed both in policy and practice in order to make open science the modus operandi in the research community. As policy shapers within the field of open science, they shared their visions and ideas on how to create a sustainable open science system that rewards and supports scientists for practicing open science. Stan and Erik will invited the participants to join in on a discussion about the practical aspects of open science. The feedback from the research community on open science was highly appreciated and was a step forward in connecting policy and support to practice.

Conference dinner and Young eScientist Award 2018

This year’s conference dinner took place at the Dutch National Maritime Museum, where we also announced the winner of the Dutch Young eScientist Award 2018. The prize aims to stimulate a young scientist demonstrating excellence in eScience. Esther Bron from Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam was announced as winner. You can read more about Esther’s research on Alzheimer’s disease here. We hope Esther’s research will inspire and encourage other young eScientists to enter next year’s competition!

Best Poster Award

Throughout the conference participants could view accepted posters on a wide range of eScience topics, and interact with the makers during the conference reception. Philips provided this year’s best poster award, which was won by Lise Stork. Lise’s poster addressed the challenge of linking natural history collections, and she is invited to one of Philips’ Research sites (most closely connected to their area of work) for scientific interactions and presentations.

Parallel Focus Sessions

Weather & Climate Science in the Digital Era
The focus of this session was on data and compute intensive approaches that are applied in weather and climate science. The session included 10 oral abstract presentations, one keynote talk, and 6 short poster pitches. The resulting session program reflected a wide spectrum in technologies, ranging from machine learning to distributed data handling, workflow systems and multiscale modeling. Both scientists from domain science, and computer and data sciences joined the session. 

Data Handling and Analytics for Health
The objective of the session was to bring together expert developers and (potential) users of digital health technologies, with a special focus on technologies for data handling and analytics. The session included 13 oral abstract presentations, two keynote talks, and 6 one-minute poster pitches. The session program reflected a wide spectrum in technologies, ranging from workflow systems to advanced machine learning, which are applied to an equally wide spectrum of health applications, ranging from health registry data, to wearable sensor data and genome sequencing. 

Advances in eScience for the Humanities and Social Sciences
This session provided a forum where technologists and scholars in the humanities and social sciences could showcase their novel eScience technologies, or previously existing eScience technologies which have found new applications in these domains. The session kicked-off with the keynote “Once More With Feeling! Opportunities and Challenges in Affective Machine Creativity” by Prof. Tony Veale. The session also showcased 13 oral presentations covering a diverse range of technology topics as well as diverse application domains. Technology topics range from natural language processing to network analysis; domain applications cover areas including history, philosophy and economics. To close the day, in the stargazing session “eScience for the H&SS – Challenges of today and tomorrow”, a panel of experts shared and discussed their views on current and future eScience challenges in Humanities and Social Sciences.

Exascale Computing for High Energy Physics
The goal of this parallel session was to address the challenges that HEP will face in the next decade, with a focus on the huge amount of data that the planned experiments will produce, its reduction, processing and efficient analysis. The session promoted collaboration between experts from HEP and Computer Science, addressing the challenges in a sustainable and scalable fashion. The session included a keynote talk by Prof. Miron Livny, 12 presentations, an interactive session and a couple of posters. The session spanned a wide range of topics and approaches, ranging from workflows to distributed computing and advanced machine learning. All the participants engaged in a fruitful and open discussion about the future of Exascale computing for HEP.   

Workshops & Tutorials

Workshop – Generic components of the eScience Infrastructure Ecosystem
Nikhef (National Institute for Subatomic Physics), The Netherlands
Website: https://www.nikhef.nl/pdp/meetings/generic-components-18/

Workshop – International Workshop on Sustainable Software for Science: Practice and Experiences (WSSSPE 6.1, 2018)
Information Technology Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Website: http://wssspe.researchcomputing.org.uk/wssspe6-1/

Workshop – Workshop on Research Objects (RO2018)
School of Computer Science, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Website: http://www.researchobject.org/ro2018/

Workshop – “eScience-FAIR Science” by PLAN-E
The Platform of National eScience Centers in Europe (PLAN-E)
Website: https://plan-europe.eu/documents/workshop-1-questions-and-topics/

Workshop – platform-driven e-infrastructure innovations
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Institut für Informatik, Germany
Website: http://www.process-project.eu/workshop/workshop-platform-driven-e-infrastructure-innovations/

Workshop – Handling Uncertainties in Big Data (HUBD)
TNO, The Netherlands
Website: https://www.tno.nl/en/about-tno/events/2018/workshop-handling-uncertainties-in-big-data-hubd/

Workshop – Designing Benchmarks for Measuring Automatic Algorithm Performance on Research Data
SURFnet, Utrecht, the Netherlands & Netherlands eScience Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Website: https://nlesc.github.io/IEEE-eScience-Tutorial-Designing-Benchmarks/

Tutorial – Contemporary Peer Code Review in Scientific Software Development
Department of Computer Science, University of Alabama
Website: https://se4science.org/tutorials/escience18/

Conference proceedings

The conference proceedings are available online for participants (please follow this link – participants of the conference have received login details via email).

Thanks to our sponsors

The conference would not have been possible without the support of many sponsors whom we would like to thank: Dell EMC, NWO, SURF, Atos, World Meteorological Organization, Moore Foundation, Philips, Nikhef, Cray, HUBzero, Target Proeftuin en Kudos.

15th International eScience Conference

The 15th International eScience Conference will take place in October 2019 in San Diego, USA. More information will be provided at https://escience-conference.org/

Photography by Elodie Burrillon / HUCOPIX and Michiel Wijbergh