Robert J. Robbins is a biologist, an educator, a science administrator, a publisher, an information technologist, and an IT leader and manager who specializes in advancing biomedical knowledge and supporting education through the application of information technology. More About: RJR | OUR TEAM | OUR SERVICES | THIS WEBSITE
Presentation on Cloud Computing in a Grant-funded Research Environment
Partly Cloudy: Migrating to a Cloud-Based IT Infrastructure in a Grant-Funded Research Environment
Partly Cloudy Workshop, 25 Oct 2018. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
Cloud computing is coming, and coming fast. Some estimates show the market for cloud services growing at 25% per year. Cloud computing is perhaps the most fundamental and profound change yet to occur in IT. Compared with other endeavors, computing is still an incredibly immature activity, characterized by learn as you go methods — much as characterized the early days of medieval church architecture: that looks good; like the new dome; oops, it fell down; wonder why? Cloud computing represents a major maturational step for computing in general, abstracting away most of the lower layers from the necessary attention of users. It is the future of computing. And yet... And yet, will it, can it work in a biomedical research environment? Do the cloud-computing advantages that are so obvious in the for-profit sector apply as well (or work at all) in a grant-funded research environment? What are the attributes of the grant-funded research environment that raise issues, pose challenges, possibly create limits to the full deployment of cloud computing in that environment?
Partly Cloudy: Migrating to a Cloud-Based IT Infrastructure in a Grant-Funded Research Environment, Partly Cloudy Workshop, 25 Oct 2018. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
RJR Experience and Expertise
Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.
Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.
Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.
Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.
While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.
Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.
Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.
Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.
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