Studies of hydrological systems are becoming increasingly complex and require integration of knowledge across multiple domains. At the same time, technological advances have enabled the collection of massive quantities of data for studying earth system changes. Fully leveraging these datasets requires new approaches in the way researchers store, access and process hydrological data. New cyberinfrastructure (CI) that emphasizes data sharing and open, reproducible software practices is in development, but requires a mode of knowledge transfer (cybertraining; CT) that extends beyond currently available university curriculum.

We propose to develop a CT approach that will provide virtual learning experiences throughout an academic year, oriented around a one week in-person workshop (WaterHackWeek) at the University of Washington eScience Institute that will focus on hands-on real-world projects. These activities will use HydroShare to share hydrologic data and models. We will address broad questions and provide CT to ensure successful use of HydroShare to 1) publish large datasets, 2) run numerical models, 3) organize collaborative research projects, and 4) meet journal requirements to follow open data standards.

Our short-term goals are to develop new CT modules; our long-term goals are to have an annually recurring WaterHackWeek, to distribute curriculum CUAHSI to more than 130+ member universities, and advance CI education for the broader geoscience community.

Intellectual Merit

The training and assessment process opens the door to unforeseen innovative combinations of data and models in HydroShare for a broad multidisciplinary community of scientists. This project will provide a forum for continued testing and development of a CI educational model. This combines pedagogy, in the form of SC tutorials, with hackathon-style group projects to contribute to active research projects using real-world datasets. It provides participants with opportunities for networking, career development, community building and designing of open-source software tools. The UW eScience Institute is actively engaged in experimenting with this new model, and in testing its efficacy through robust evaluation metrics. The proposed WaterHackWeek will be an opportunity to test the application of the model to water research. It will provide an opportunity to test the model in the water research community and provide complementary user data, in addition to the annually recurring hackweeks in neuro, astro, and geo-sciences (since 2014).  The use of the hackweek educational model we propose, will extend the model to include a specific emphasis on graduate student training as instructors, training coordinators, and building research networks with data providers who are stakeholders outside of academia.   

Broader Impacts

Our work will motivate a culture shift within the hydrological community toward open and reproducible software practices that will enhance interdisciplinary collaboration and increase capacity for addressing complex science challenges. The proposed activities encourage collaboration and support for use of CI at all stages of the educational pipeline. Our CT overlaps with CI Contributors, CI Professionals through collaborations with the HydroShare Project Developers, operational software support provided by CUAHSI, and the UW Freshwater Initiative Steering Committee led by UW graduate student. Applicants from a nation-wide pool will be selected to ensure diversity of science, technical, professional, academic, institutional and individual backgrounds. We include travel grants for students from 2017 hurricane impacted communities interested in using hurricane data in their research. Training materials will be developed using the latest CI technologies in collaboration with research projects that would like to use HydroShare as a CI research platform, but do not yet have appropriate CyberTraining materials available (e.g. Landlab (#1450412), RAPID 2017 Hurricane data archives (#1761673; #1810886), PREEVENTS (#1663859), HydroShare (#1664061; Summa model, National Water Model, Tribal government users)).

  • Project Objectives

    A major challenge we will address is the process of building data and software skills so that diverse multi-disciplinary teams of new students and seasoned researchers can collaborate in a project-based learning environment. We propose five components to meet our training, education, and workforce development objectives:

    1. WaterHackWeek: an annual, one-week event combining tutorials with hands-on working sessions to build on Case study examples using HydroShare as a CI platform.
    2. Participant preparation: a series of skill-building and training activities before WaterHackWeek
    3. Professional development: providing certification to instructors to maximize educational outcomes
    4. CyberSeminar Introductory Interactive Modules: Data and Modeling (4)
    5. CyberSeminar Case study Interactive Modules: Research Project Applications (4) for use in hackathon-style group projects that address broad questions and that provide training so that users can successfully use HydroShare to a) publish large datasets, b) run numerical models of coupled earth surface processes, c) organize collaborative research projects, and d) follow open data standards to meet journal requirements.
    6. User Experience Design to improve training and reference materials, generate recommendations for new HydroShare features, and enhance communication between CI Users, Contributors and Professionals.
  • Contact / Get Involved

    If you would like further information, please contact: Christina Bandaragoda ( or Anthony Castronova (

  • Contributors / Acknowledgements
    • Anthony Arendt (University of Washington)
    • Christina Bandaragoda (University of Washington)
    • Anthony Castronova (CUAHSI)
    • Erkan Istanbullouglu (University of Washington)
    • Emilio Mayorga (University of Washington)
    • Bart Nijssen (University of Washington)