What is the Collaboratory?

GAIA Workshops Have Several Goals

  • Review the state of our knowledge of climate and climate change
  • Delineate the issues associated with climate change prediction
  • Focus the discussion on the impact of climate disruption on public health to discover coupling pathways
  • Define the top climate-related issues facing decision-makers
  • Identify and define the factors that impede our influence on and ability to effectively address the impact of global climate disruption
  • Unite people from different organizations and disciplines to identify common core problems and develop more effective adaptation strategies
  • Identify the needs for a sustainable virtual community to address ongoing climate and public health issues

The need to address global climate disruption has been recognized at many levels—international, federal, and local. GAIA offers a new approach to this need. Our GAIA workshops use an in-house collaborative framework to identify critical cross-cutting issues. In our GAIA workshop, users participate in plenary lectures to highlight critical ideas. Small focus-area working groups are then formed for supplemental workshops and breakout sessions.

The GAIA Workshop Experience

Cyber-support. To enhance interaction, each participant will be provided with a computer with direct access to the GAIA collaboratory during workshop discussions. Discussion moderators will rely on these individual computers for conveying information, eliciting survey responses, and sharing documents. Consequentially, we will be formulating a query-and-response element of the sessions in real time. The in-event GAIA collaboratory provides a chat-like function that allows workshop attendees to carry on simultaneous verbal and typed conversations, resulting in multiple information threads and exponential increases in personal input. Overall, participants’ time and expertise are leveraged by technology supporting first-person recording, shared documentation, spontaneous polling, surveys, and live information capture all within the existing GAIA architecture. In addition, participants in the workshops will have the opportunity to display charts, data, reports, etc., from their personal computer to support their discussions. They will be able to upload this ancillary material before and/or during the workshop. The moderators will queue these contributions and they will become part of the record of the GAIA workshop (provided that the contributor agrees to this).

Posters. We encourage our attendees to consider creating a poster contribution. Here we use “poster” in both the traditional sense of a physical interaction and also in a new sense. Given the breadth of our new community, we encourage you to upload presentations, reports, and/or other relevant materials that you feel would be of interest to others not from your particular community. Our GAIA workshop approach is based on a technique developed at JHU/APL called a “WALEX” (short for "Warfare Analysis Laboratory Exercise"). Applicable references are as follows:

GAIA Functional Goals

The GAIA collaboratory has four major goals. These goals are addressed during the course of developing the GAIA workshops. We do this to be sure that the collaboratory meets actual user needs. The major goals are to:

  1. Build a subject matter expert (SME) networking tool
  2. Create a knowledge management (KM) tool set to serve our community of interest
  3. Enable collaboration
  4. Enable resilience through discovery

SME Networking Tools

We are developing and implementing a social networking tool that provides for the self-identification of expertise and interests as well as for the development of affiliated information. To our community members, this will be a means of “publishing” in one place their various activities (e.g., social media connections, organizational affiliations and ties, personal web pages, blogs, and problem descriptions as well as discussion threads). This tool is designed to support the activities of the workshops.

KM System

The e-GAIA KM system will be a repository for the materials created and submitted in support of the GAIA workshops. One of the challenges of a KM system is that it must be a flexible system designed to accept a variety of input: presentations, documents, hyperlinks, model output, visualizations, etc. The information will be searchable and tagged with identifiers from a common vocabulary. The tagged information will support threaded discussions in forums on the GAIA social sites as well as during the workshops. This capability is particularly important because our goal is to support both the traditional face-to-face interactions that occur during workshops and the web-mediated interactions that will occur remotely over time. Because GAIA is actively developing techniques to span disciplines, one of the key developments will be the provision of “work flows” that can be used to connect SMEs to decision-makers.

Enabling Collaboration

In a disparate community, a key challenge is communication. Sharing tools, techniques, and information as well as establishing credibility will be addressed in the collaboratory. The prototyped system will support our GAIA workshops.

Enabling Resiliency Through Discovery

One of the key problems faced by decision-makers is finding out who knows what and determining how reliable that information is. We are all decision-makers, whether we are researchers deciding what topic to investigate or public policy administrators trying to determine how to manage risk. GAIA will be a portal to relevant datasets and model results (data include climate data, public health data, economic data—whatever is needed to support understanding societal impacts of climate change). We will provide tools for the visualization of model output using commercial off-the-shelf tools that can be downloaded to your location or implemented within our GAIA resources.