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EdgeDiscovery strives to facilitate and advance the frontiers of research and innovation, providing the ability for transformative impact on the research communities in both small and large institutions across New Jersey and the region. With a foundation built on five pillars, EdgeDiscovery fosters information sharing, collaborations, learning pathways, and the ability to form affinity groups based on research interests.

One of those pillars, Fostering Research Community Engagement, witnessed great strides in recent months with participation, attendance, support, and speaking engagements at events of all shapes and sizes. Led by Dr. Forough Ghahramani, Associate Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Sponsored Programs, 2021 kicked off with Edge’s first-ever, fully virtual EdgeCon annual conference Research Track sessions. 

The EdgeDiscovery Track at EdgeCon 2021, held January 6-8, 2021, featured a robust schedule of distinguished research-oriented discussions, including:

Resources and Communities of Practice Facilitating Computing and Data-intensive Research and Education

Dana Brunson, Executive Director, Research Engagement, Internet2

Forough Ghahramani, Associate Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Sponsored Programs, Edge

Julie Ma, Program Manager, Northeast Cyberteam Initiative, Program Manager, CAREERS Cyberteam, Campus Champions Leadership Team, Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC), Harvard University

Andrew Sherman, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist and the Director of Arts & Sciences Computational Research Support, Center for Research Computing, Yale University

This session provided information about research support resources and communities available at the local, regional, and national level, bridging researchers with valuable resources and collaborations. Topics included national Cyberinfrastructure (CI) resources, such as XSEDE and Open Science Grid (OSG), Campus Research Computing Consortium (CaRCC), the Campus Champions network; regional communities and resources, including the Eastern Regional Network’s (ERN) Broadening the Reach initiatives that support less-resourced institutions, the NSF sponsored Cyberteams projects for advancing research and education in Eastern Regional Schools, and EdgeDiscovery enabling research and innovation.

Federated Identity, InCommon, and Enabling Federated Access to Research Services

Ann West, AVP for Trust & Identity at Internet2 and Executive Director of the InCommon Federation

Jim Basney,Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, National Center for Supercomputer Applications

Tom Barton, Senior Consultant for Cybersecurity & Data Privacy, UChicago & Internet2

The panel reviewed the concepts of federated identities, authentication, and the role attributes play in managing access to services. They further described how the InCommon Federation and eduGAIN enable academic collaboration across local, regional, national, and international scales. They also discussed technical alternatives for participation in InCommon and delved into how research communities and research cyberinfrastructures manage federated access to their services.

Research, Innovation, and Advanced Cyberinfrastructure

Jack Brassil, Ph.D., Director for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure at Princeton University

James Barr von Oehsen, Ph.D., Vice President for Office of Advanced Research Computing at Rutgers University

Forough Ghahramani, Ed.D., Associate Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Sponsored Programs at Edge

The panel explored how New Jersey institutions are supporting education and research through advanced cyberinfrastructure and cloud computing, impacting workforce and economic development, and helping to drive innovation and discovery. The discussion also explored the significance of a top-tier state-wide network in providing connectivity to the national and global research infrastructure and the role of collaborations facilitated by organizations, such as the Eastern Regional Network (ERN) for enabling resource sharing to advance research and education.

High Performance Data Analytics

David Bader, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Data science aims to solve grand global challenges such as: detecting and preventing disease in human populations, revealing community structure in large social networks, protecting our elections from cyber-threats, and improving the resilience of the electric power grid. Unlike traditional applications in computational science and engineering, solving these social problems at scale often raises new challenges because of the sparsity and lack of locality in the data, the need for research on scalable algorithms and architectures, and the development of frameworks for solving these real-world problems on high performance computers, and for improved models that capture the noise and bias inherent in the torrential data streams. In this talk, Bader discussed the opportunities and challenges in massive data science for applications in social sciences, physical sciences, and engineering.

Transforming Data Science for Good

Florence D. Hudson, Executive Director of Northeast Big Data Innovation

The Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub is a community convener, collaboration hub, and catalyst for data science innovation in the Northeast Region of the U.S. with a mission to build and strengthen partnerships across industry, academia, nonprofits, and government to address societal and scientific challenges, spur economic development, and accelerate innovation in the national big data ecosystem. The session discussed the exciting initiatives researchers can participate in across four focus areas of Health, Responsible Data Science, Education and Data Literacy, and Urban to Rural Communities. Projects presented included the COVID Information Commons, the Connected Healthcare Cybersecurity Workshop in collaboration with IEEE, Underwriters Laboratories, and the Northeast Student Data Corps.

To view the recorded sessions, visit

Girls Who Game Equity: Women in STEM and the Esports Industry 

Held on April 8, 2021, the international panel highlighted the role of women in the Esports and STEM fields. An initiative supported by INTEL, DELL, and Microsoft, the Girls Who Game Equity (GWGE) panel put a spotlight on women in STEM, shared stories of successful women in the emerging Esports industry, and inspired girls who game and women in higher education to persevere and reach for their dreams. Part of a larger four-panel series, this session marked the third panel. In addition to Dr. Ghahramani, panelists included:

Dominique Gelineau, Esports Entrepreneur

Sri Santhi Pabbaraju, Solutions Architect, Dell Technologies

Karen Ruggles, Assistant Professor, DeSales University

Shelley Taniguchi, Senior Global Partnerships Manager, Team Liquid

Gabriela Weber, Project Development, Team Liquid

Jordena Zaro, Gaming Expert, Microsoft

Northeast Innovation Hub’s Northeast Student Data Corps: April 2021 Data Science Career Panel

Held April 16, 2021, the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub’s Northeast Student Data Corps virtual event was co-moderated by Outreach Co-Leader, Dr. Ghahramani, and Columbia University Student Assistant, Haleigh Stewart, and featured panelists from across the research community, including:

Sanjana Reddy Pasnuri, Data Scientist for the Expert Labs Learning Team, IBM

Jason Williams, Assistant Director, External Collaborations at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory DNA Learning Center

Dr. Patricia Ordóñez, Associate Professor, Computer Science faculty, University of Puerto Rico Río Piedra

Martin Pavlovski, Ph.D. candidate and Research Assistant at the Center for Data Analytics and Biomedical Informatics at Temple University

Newly launched by the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub’s Northeast Student Data Corps, the Data Science Career Panel webinar series featured experts from academia, government, industry, and nonprofits who shared their experiences learning and using data science. This virtual event aimed to highlight the wide range of educational opportunities and career paths available in data science and data analytics.

Inaugural Annual New Jersey Women in Data Science.

Edge launched the Inaugural Annual New Jersey Women in Data Science virtual conference on March 12, during Women’s History Month, in partnership with IEEE Women in Engineering and Verizon, and in collaboration with Stanford University. Over 350 participants attended the event from across the globe. The conference provided a platform to explore and promote the important role of data science in industry and research and connect a broad network of women in data science. A diverse group of speakers shared the latest data science-related research in a number of domains, covering topics like the role of data science in the humanities and data-informed sustainability and urban development initiatives. An industry panel also shared how leading-edge companies are leveraging data science and explored the expanding role of data science in healthcare, telecommunications, and IT services.

Eastern Regional Network

Through collaboration and partnership with organizations such as the Eastern Regional Network, Edge strives to understand how to support resource and technology collaborations among smaller, mid-sized, and under-resourced campuses, and is considered a thought leader in broadening the reach for advanced cyberinfrastructure:

October 2020 – participated as a panelist in “Towards Equitable Access to HPC Resources” session of The Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM) workshop: Mathematical and Computational Approaches for the Einstein Field Equations with Matter Fields. This was a virtual workshop hosted by Brown University ( 

December 2020 – Edge was a co-lead for the Eastern Regional Network’s Broadening the Reach Workshop in December 2020 where more than 50 schools were represented. The virtual workshop brought together representatives from smaller, mid-sized, and under-resourced campuses, including MSIs, HSIs, HBCUs, and EPSCoR institutions, to identify, understand, and quantify science drivers, the cyberinfrastructure needed to support the applications, and the challenges and opportunities at participating institutions. The workshop also provided an opportunity to share information about available regional and national resources. 

April 2020 – Forough Ghahramani, Edge and John Hicks, Internet2, both co-leads for the ERN Broadening the Reach working group, shared results of the Eastern Regional Network “Broadening the Reach” workshop at the Internet2 webinar “Identifying Cyberinfrastructure Gaps for Under-resourced Institutions.” Recommendations were shared on how to support resource and technology collaborations among smaller, mid-sized, and under-resourced campuses.

The Global Connected Healthcare Cybersecurity Virtual 2021 Workshop Series 

This workshop series was presented by the IEEE SA, IEEE/UL P2933™ Standards Working Group and the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub headquartered at Columbia University.

(February 2021) Forough Ghahramani co-facilitated the inaugural Global Connected Healthcare Cybersecurity “Technology and Policy Considerations in Connected Healthcare” session. The workshop convened a community of leaders in healthcare, technology, and policy to develop mutual understanding and recommendations to address the risks in connected healthcare cybersecurity and envision a roadmap for standards and actions to improve connected healthcare cybersecurity.

The April 2021 Global Connected Health Cybersecurity Workshop’s second event in the series focused on “Privacy, Ethics, and Trust in Connected Healthcare.” Ghahramani co-facilitated the “Ethical Considerations for Connected Healthcare” session which addressed Privacy and Ethics requirements in connected healthcare and IoT systems and how design and development is vital to develop trust in using IoT based systems in the healthcare domain. IoT based connected healthcare systems require an appreciation of both the ethico-legal milieu and the sociopolitical landscape. It has been noticed that one of the issues in the low adoption of IoT applications among end-users is the lack of trust in connected healthcare and IoT devices concerning data protection, privacy, and safety. Workshop participants explored the latest technologies, challenges, and regulations regarding privacy, ethics, and trust for connected health IoT systems and shared recommendations for the future.

NJBigData Alliance

Forough Ghahramani organized and led the research track sessions at the 8th Annual New Jersey Big Data Alliance (NJBDA) Symposium hosted by Princeton University on April 30. This track showcased important research being conducted at New Jersey institutions in the areas of smart cities, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data. In addition, student poster presentations were made available during the two-day virtual event. The symposium captured information and research that will continue to be a value to institutions, the State, and the economy. 

To learn more about upcoming EdgeDiscovery events, stay tuned to