Birds of a Feather
On Launching a Research Computing Q&A Site using StackExchange and Discourse
Event Type
Birds of a Feather
Facilitation Tags
Birds of a Feather Tags
Birds of a Feather
TimeTuesday, July 245pm - 6pm
DescriptionIn September, 2017, the Northeast Cyberteam Initiative ( began a project to build a Research Computing Q&A site which will allow the research computing community to achieve better/faster research results; and enable a sustainable workforce of facilitators to provide greater acceleration of research in the long term. At this BOF, we will explain the project; describe what it takes to create a new Q&A site on StackExchange and on Discourse; give an update on where we are in the process, and engage the audience to join the effort. Establishing a Q&A site of this nature requires some tenacity. Through the efforts of the authors of this BoF and many others who have contributed, we have gained some traction, and hope to engage the broader community to firmly establish this platform as a tool for the global research computing community.

The goal of this project is to aggregate answers to a broad spectrum of questions that are commonly asked as researchers utilize advanced computing resources, creating a self-service knowledge base for the community of domain researchers, facilitators, cyberinfrastructure (CI) engineers and others that do Research Computing. Making this knowledge readily available frees up time for facilitators and CI engineers to focus on more advanced subject matter, thereby elevating the practice.

Through the launch process we have been thinking seriously about what defines "research computing" in relation to other computing disciplines. The process has generated some very thoughtful discussion and we believe that it's of great benefit to our community to work on this definition as it relates to career development and the emergence of research computing as a distinct sub-discipline. Our hope is that not only will the Research Computing Q&A site become a great resource for the community, it will also provide a public testimony of the reality of research computing and how is exists in relation to IT, Computer Science, and domain research.