‘Time to Science’ and the Role of Research Computing

Christine Kirkpatrick1

1San Diego Supercomputer Center



‘Time to science’ describes the time consumed by activities scientists engage in before they can get to work – research in their chosen domain. Rather than spending time on scientific inquiry, productive hours are consumed finding and getting data ready and setting up cloud environments. For research with at-scale complexity and experimental computer science and data science workloads, the time to science can be even greater. Too often, researchers are faced with scaling their inquiry down to resources within their current portfolio or technical capabilities. If the highest aim of research computing is to meet scientists at their level of inquiry and to come up with approaches that match these requirements, then some of this ‘time to science’ challenge must be unbundled by research computing professionals. To decrease ‘time to science’ research computing groups must borrow techniques and competencies from data stewardship, as well as troubleshooting and right sizing cloud architectures.


Christine Kirkpatrick oversees the San Diego Supercomputer Center’s (SDSC) Research Data Services division, which manages infrastructure, networking, and services for research projects of regional and national scope. Kirkpatrick is a recognized expert in the implementation of research computing services, with an emphasis on data science workloads, as well as operational cyberinfrastructure (CI) at scale.

Kirkpatrick founded and hosts the US GO FAIR Office at SDSC, is the Executive Director of the US National Data Service (NDS), and Co-PI and Deputy Director of the West Big Data Innovation Hub (WBDIH). She co-chairs the All (Big Data) Hub Infrastructure Working Group, is co-PI of the Open Storage Network, and PI of the EarthCube Office (ECO). Kirkpatrick received her master’s degree from the Jacobs School of Engineering at University of California San Diego. She serves on the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) for the Research Data Alliance (RDA), and the external Advisory Boards for the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Hub and EOSC Nordic.


AeRO is the industry association focused on eResearch in Australasia. We play a critical coordination role for our members, who are actively transforming research via Information Technology. Organisations join AeRO to advance their own capabilities and services, to collaborate and to network with peers. AeRO believes researchers and the sector significantly benefit from greater communication, coordination and sharing among the increasingly different and evolving service providers.