Teleconferences/Son of Evoinfo

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Proposal link

Son of EvoInfo Teleconference, July 01, 2009

Participants: Arlin, Rutger, Mark


  1. Working group focus: discuss the currently proposed 'aims'. How much overlap with previous incarnation is appropriate?
  2. Working group participants: Whom to invite?



  • Overall, the thrust of this WG will be less computer engineering and more social engineering
Need more stakeholders involved, raise awareness of the Stack
Can still phrase this goal in terms of real deliverables; for example, the WG can aim to
  • entice a "bunch" of data resources; have targeted projects fully implementing Stack data compliance (emit at least RDF/ Nexml / Nexml/JSON, say) by the end of the WG term
This perspective promotes an objective way of measuring success of the WG, provides a benchmark, and provides a concrete criterion for participation when we invite people on board
  • WG format
We need to explain how the working group format is going to deliver these deliverables, as a small group meeting every six months -- how to make the wg mechanism accomplish what we want
The group would agree to organize the events - a "docathon", WG meeting, visiting scientists meeting at NESCent with a specific objective to achieve in a 2-3 week time.
The working group in essence meets to decide priorities and goals, and then uses NESCent sponsored mechanisms (such as hackathons or visiting scientist confabs) to actualize them
  • The Phylo and dB h'thons are good examples of this process - emerging directly from the working group, and proceeding with close involvement by the working group members; very successful outcome.
  • It is helpful to NESCent when the working group is actively involved in the setup and running of these events

Out of the ensuing discussion came three objectives:

  1. A documentation push: to be taken a quantum leap forward by a WG-driven Doc-a-thon
  2. Jumpstart an EvolInfo Stack user community: establish a mailing list, helpdesk, unified web presence
  3. Establish reference implementations/test beds; at least 3 reference implementors (online resources), running at a predefined level of interoperability (e.g., TREEBase, ToL, Tolkin)


  • Need to limit the roster of the actual working group; should be relatively small (the previous one, of ~13 people, was in fact large by NESCent standards)
  • Reasonable to have as many DBHack people involved as possible
  • Less important this time to have big names involved, more important to involve the big projects and groups (PPOD, ToL, EBI, TDWIG...)
  • In the last WG, the roster of personnel changed somewhat each meeting; could specify that sort of flexibility in the proposal ("as new decisions and priorities are established, the WG leadership may find it advantageous to invite other participants on the basis of their expertise and interests....")
  • Three loose criteria, based on the WG aims (rvos):
  • good at documentation
  • involvement in strategic projects
  • have an interesting vision

-discussion of the merits of particular individuals-

Action items

Mark: put up these notes, and update the wiki version of proposal to reflect this discussion; install Skype

Arlin: Set up a Google spreadsheet of invitee candidates for prioritization

Rutger: Chat with possible invitees

Next telecon

  • Invite Hilmar / Todd