Director of Research


Special Seminar plus Afternoon Workshop

Monday, August 17

Dr. Yolanda Gil
Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California

Special Seminar
noon - 1pm, Redfield Auditorium:
Shedding Light on the "Dark Software" of Science

Afternoon Workshop
1:45 - 5:00pm, Smith Conference Room:
Geoscience Papers of the Future

What is Informatics?

Informatics can be described as the science and technology that transforms data into information and knowledge. Informatics is more than computer science or information technology. It refers to the structures, behavior and interactions of systems that store, process, and communicate information. Examples of domain-specific informatics include: Bioinformatics, Biodiversity informatics, Geoinformatics, and Social informatics.

The science and technology of Ocean informatics are now emerging. Since oceanography is by definition inter-disciplinary, several existing informatics technology areas will be incorporated into Ocean informatics. Thus, the development of Ocean informatics has the potential to identify commonalities and integrate technologies, tools, and concepts that exist in other fields of informatics.

Ocean Informatics at WHOI

WHOI's Ocean Informatics initiative currently has 5 main goals:
1) Strengthen connections to expertise within WHOI and our local science community,
2) Become aware of broader community efforts and external opportunities that may lead to new funding,
3) Help WHOI staff and students adopt informatics practices and technologies,
4) Help with data management plans and data publishing,
5) Promote best practices for sustainability and attribution for scientific software

Phase 2 of Ocean Informatics at WHOI began in 2013 with the "Coping with Your Data Workshop" (see Events page). The Ocean Informatics Advisory Group currently consists of Stace Beaulieu (coordinator of the group, in Biology Dept.), Cyndy Chandler (MCG), Joe Futrelle (AOPE), and Lisa Raymond (Co-Director MBLWHOI Library). Please feel free to contact any member of the group with questions. You may also email or join the data-mongers email list (, the WHOI Software Mailing List (, or the bioinformatics email list ( Also, please contact us if you are interested in joining the Advisory Group.

Phase 1 was active from 2009-2013, led by a 4-person team, the Ocean Informatics Working Group. This Working Group recommended a strategy and an action plan to build a robust data informatics infrastructure at WHOI. Thanks to a modest budget provided by the WHOI directorate alongside synergistic staff resources provided by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the group achieved its initial core mission of initiating and expanding a basic Ocean Informatics infrastructure at WHOI. The group and partners brought in external support, established new collaborations, and produced a suite of software tools along with other accomplishments detailed in a final report (see Phase 1 page).

Last updated: July 21, 2015