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R software development for NSF Advances in Biological Informatics grant

We are pleased to announce that as part of our software services program Xianghui Dong has joined Digital Systems and Stewardship in a new contract position of R Software Developer.  This position will provide programming in support of an NSF Advances in Biological Informatics grant entitled Advanced mathematical, statistical, and software tools to unlock the potential of animal tracking data with a  project team composed of researchers from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, University of Maryland Department of Biology, and University of Massachusetts (Amherst) College of Information and Computer Sciences.

Xianghui received his BA in Mechanics and Manufacturing Engineering from Tsinghua University and PhD in Pattern Recognition and Intelligent Systems from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  Xianghui has worked most recently as a consultant with some non-profit organizations, as well as volunteer work as a data ambassador for DataKind DC.

This project focuses on adapting mathematical and statistical methods from geostatistics, physics, signal processing, and computer science for the analysis of animal tracking datasets. The centerpiece of the project is the continuous-time movement modeling (ctmm) analysis package for the R environment for statistical computing. This package implements the methods developed by the project team and serves as the interface with the community of ecologists and conservation biologists studying animal movement processes.

The developer will build an R-Shiny web application providing a graphical interface to the ctmm R package for statistical modeling with a target audience of ecologists who have animal movement data and would like to utilize the ctmm package, but don’t have the expertise to do so directly in R via the command line. The application will walk the user through the modeling process, including steps such as data upload, analysis, visualization and report generation. The analysis step will further be broken into a sequence of sub-steps that depend on the user’s analysis goals. The web application must be easily run in standalone, desktop mode and would be desirable run in a hosted, multi-user mode as well. The developer will principally interface on the backend with the existing ctmm package, developed by others on the project team, but would also be available to help with ctmm improvements as necessary.

About Ben Wallberg

Ben Wallberg is the Manager, Software Systems Development and Research at the University of Maryland Libraries. http://lib.umd.edu/dss/software


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