NSF Workshop on Innovative Cyberinfrastructure for Integrated Food, Energy, and Water Research

Tropicana Room, Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale, Arizona
Sunday, May 22 (8:00am - 5:30pm) – Monday, May 23 (8:00am - 1:00pm)

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

Food, energy, and water (FEW) demands are often interdependent and transcend regional and national boundaries, and have posed tremendous global challenges where actions in one part of the world impact behaviours and outcomes in another. As location-aware sensors and devices (e.g., environmental sensors, LiDAR, remote sensing, and social media) become increasingly common, advanced cyberinfrastructure (CI) must support collaborative and scalable coupling of geospatial big data with various domain-specific models and computational capabilities for conducting integrated FEW research, and associated compute- and data-intensive scientific problem solving. CyberGIS (aka geographic information science and systems based on advanced CI) brings critical geospatial thinking and big compute and data approaches to bear and promises to play a significant role in advancing integrated FEW understanding. This workshop addresses innovative CI for facilitating interoperability between cyberGIS and domain-specific CI capabilities (e.g. HydroShare) driven by integrated FEW research. The workshop will also serve as a forum for generating novel ideas for further CI-enabled interdisciplinary geospatial research on interactions of other integrated systems beyond FEW. The workshop will produce a report for broad dissemination, and is expected to achieve significant impacts through leveraging not only two NSF software research projects focused on cyberGIS and HydroShare respectively, but also extensive partnerships and a number of advanced CI initiatives and resources (e.g., the National CyberGIS Facility based on ROGER supercomputer and the National Data Service).


Sunday, May 22

  • 7:00 AM - Breakfast
  • 8:00 AM - Welcome and Introduction
  • 8:10 AM - Shaowen Wang - CyberGIS -- Chair: David Tarboton
  • 8:30 AM - Keynote: David Bullock, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -- Chair: Shaowen Wang
    • Generating and Analyzing Data to Improve Farm Management
  • 9:00 AM - Lightning Talks on Integrated FEW Sciences and Requirements for Innovative CI -- Chair: David Tarboton
    • Richard Sowers, UIUC - The Field of Mathematics in the Field
    • Ouri Wolfson, UIC - Information Platforms for Managing Information about Flows of Food, Energy, Water
    • Jon Duncan, UNC - Reconciling Global Market Forces and Field Scale Nutrient Management: Top-Down and Bottom-Up Modeling Approaches to Explore Cumulative Impacts of Best Management Practices on Water Quality
    • Laurence Lin, UNC - TBA
    • Norm Miller, UC Berkeley - TBA
    • Mostafa Elag, UIUC - Virtualization Opportunity in CyberInfrastructure: Towards Federating Food-Energy-Water Infrastructure Network
    • Ben Ruddell, ASU - A Cyberinfrastructure Mapping the Coupling of the Natural and Human Hydrospheres
    • Giuseppe Mascaro, ASU - Challenges in Modeling Composition and Visualization for Decision Making of the Food-Energy-Water Nexus
    • Andrew French, USDA - Farm to Farmer: Streaming Remote and Proximal Sensing Data to Speed Decision Support for Management of Water, Nutrients and Variety Selection
    • Xinyue Ye, Kent State - Digital Humanities Perspective of FEW Research in the Context of Big and New Data
  • 10:00 AM - Break
  • 10:20 AM - Invited Talk: David Tarboton, Utah State University -- Chair: Shaowen Wang
    • HydroShare and CyberGIS: Advancing Food, Energy and Water Research through Collaborative Data and Model Sharing and Web Based Computing
  • 10:40 AM - Breakout Discussions -- Shaowen introduces
    • Group 1: Integrated FEW Sciences -- Chair: Norm Miller
    • Group 2: Requirements for Innovative CI -- Chair: Praveen Kumar
    • Group 3: Grand Challenges in Integrated FEW Research -- Chair: Andrew French
  • 11:40 AM - Report Back
  • 12:00 PM - Lunch
  • 1:00 PM - Lightning Talks on Innovative CI, Education and Workforce -- Chair: Shaowen Wang
    • Tim Nyerges, UW - CI-enabled Adaptive Ecosystem Management for Food, Energy and Water
    • Lorne Leonard, PSU - HydroTerre: The Art of Data & Model Wrangling with Workflows
    • Scott Peckham, CU Boulder - TBA
    • Tao Lin, UIUC - An Integrated Scientific Cyberinfrastructure for Sustainable Agriculture
    • Xingong Li, KU - Scaling up Solar Radiation Modeling on CyberGIS
    • Raju Vatsavai, NC State - Cyber Enabled Knowledge Discovery Framework for Food, Energy, and Water Security
    • Jim Coll, KU - Modeling the Water Cycle in Snow Dominated Watersheds
    • Luis F. Rodríguez, UIUC - The INFEWS-ER: Educational Resources for Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water
    • Christina Bandaragoda, UW - Examining Watershed Trajectories and the Influence of Human Decisions
  • 2:00 PM - Breakout Discussions
    • Group 1: Innovative CI: Hardware and Integration -- Chair: Ben Ruddell
    • Group 2: Innovative CI: Data -- Chair: Ouri Wolfson
    • Group 3: Innovative CI: Software -- Chair: Rick Hooper
  • 3:00 PM - Report Back
  • 3:20 PM - Break
  • 3:40 PM - Invited Talk: Praveen Kumar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -- Chair: Shaowen Wang
    • CyberInfrastructure Needs for FEW Network Studies
  • 4:10 PM - Breakout Discussions
    • Group 1: Models for Food, Energy and Water Systems -- Chair: Richard Sowers
    • Group 2: Data for Food, Energy and Water Systems -- Chair: Raju Vatsavai
    • Group 3: Community Sharing of FEW Data and Models -- Chair: Christina Bandaragoda
  • 5:10 PM - Report Back
  • 5:30 PM - Adjourn

Monday, May 23

  • 7:00 AM - Breakfast
  • 8:00 AM - Keynote: Larry Band, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill -- Chair: David Tarboton
    • Mixed Intercropping Systems in Complex Terrain, with Examples from China
  • 8:30 AM - Breakout Discussions
    • Group 1: Data-driven Integrated Modeling -- Chair: Larry Band
    • Group 2: Education and Workforce -- Chair: Luis F. Rodríguez
    • Group 3: Strategies and Pitfalls for Fostering Integrated FEW Research -- Chair: Tim Nyerges
  • 9:30 AM - Report Back
  • 10:00 AM - Break
  • 10:30 AM - Invited Talk: Rick Hooper, CUAHSI -- Chair: David Tarboton
    • Developing a Geofabric for the National Water Model
  • 10:45 AM - Outline of the Report
  • 11:00 AM - Breakout Discussions on Report Contributions
  • 12:00 PM - Lunch

Workshop Materials

See this Google Drive folder

UCGIS Symposium

Note that this workshop is being held in coordination with the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) 2016 symposium at the same location starting on Tuesday May 24. Workshop attendees are encouraged to stay for some or all of the UCGIS symposium.


Please contact few@cybergis.org.


David Tarboton is a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Utah Water Research Laboratory, Utah State University. His research focuses on advancing the capability for hydrologic prediction by developing models that take advantage of new information and process understanding enabled by new technology. He is lead on the National Science Foundation HydroShare project for the development of a collaborative environment for sharing hydrologic data and models.

Shaowen Wang is a professor of Geography and Geographic Information Science (Primary), Computer Science, Library and Information Science, and Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is named a Centennial Scholar. He is also an Associate Director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and Founding Director of Illinois' CyberGIS Center for Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies. He is President-Elect of the the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, and a current member of the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources of the U.S. National Academies.

Position Papers


The workshop will foster dialog initiated by position papers (maximum 2-page length based on the document template provided) that are requested in advance. Several smaller working groups will be set up and deliberate in parallel sessions and then bring their results to the plenary to be shared with the rest of the participants. The output from the parallel sessions will become the input to the overall report. All position papers will be posted on the website of the CyberGIS Center for Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies (CyberGIS Center) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (University of Illinois), so that workshop participants may read them in advance. The final report will be made publicly available on the website and also submitted to NSF along with the individual position papers. Position papers from people not attending the workshop will be encouraged and posted as well.


  • If you are interested in attending this workshop, please prepare a position paper of up to 2 pages using this document template.
  • Submit your paper to the EasyChair webpage
  • Funds are available to support travel to attend the workshop. To request travel funds, please send an email to few@cybergis.org after submitting your position paper. To ensure full consideration for travel funds please submit your paper and request by April 27, 2016.
  • The discounted hotel block through UCGIS expires on April 29th.
  • Papers received after April 27, 2016 may be presented at the workshop subject to time and space constraints.