On April 28th the United States Navy’s Allegany Ballistics Laboratory at Rocket Center, WV was a busy place. Educators from colleges and universities in WV, MD, and PA – along with federal, state, and local officials – gathered for an educational summit. The summit was organized as a follow up to a similar meeting called (at that time) by WV Governor Joe Manchin, and hosted by the United States Navy with its support contractor, IBM.
Now a U.S. Senator, Manchin came to Rocket Center to talk about the importance of creating high-tech jobs and the need for companies like IBM to work with the institutions of higher education in the tri-state area to ensure that there is a tech-ready workforce in the area. Also participating in the summit were representatives from Maryland Senators Cardin and Mikulski and Acting WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s offices.
The summit was designed to explore ways that colleges and universities in the area could incorporate technology developed by IBM into their curricula and how the colleges and universities could better produce the type of skilled workers needed by government and industry. NARA’s Applied Research Laboratory was showcased during the summit.
As part of their support of NARA at Rocket Center, IBM has hired 17 undergraduate students to work in the Applied Research Lab. These students are engaged in activities with NARA’s research partners, such as:
- Supporting NARA’s work with Georgia Tech Research Institute to develop better automated file type identification tools (read the GTRI report posted on our Dec 7 blog about GTRI);
- Providing test collections for the Texas Advanced Computing Center to use in their advanced visualization and data mining tools (see our Feb 1 Tech Tuesday blog about TACC); and
- Developing scripts (small computer programs) to support the work of our research partners at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications who are developing tools for automated conversions of files from one format to another (see our Nov 9 post about NCSA’s Conversion Software Registry.
The summit participants met with Robert Chadduck, Acting Director for NARA’s Applied Research, who explained the importance of these NARA research activities and collaborations with students and IT research partners. The group viewed demonstrations of some of the tools that were developed with the students’ support. They also had a chance to speak with some of the students and to learn what role their work in the lab has played in their education.
The visitors were impressed with the unique educational opportunities available in the lab. Many of them expressed an interest in expanding the program or developing additional collaborations.