Big Data and Sustainability: Udacity CS101 and Edx CS50

Continuing on the last post.  I looked on Craigslist for an entry level programming job and found an add for Launch Code.  Launch Code is a nonprofit based in St. Louis that helps people enter the technology field in programming.  Basically, people learn from online courses enough to start using Hackerrank and answer some coding problems.  If the person gets the coding problems right, they move to getting the entry level job after completing a Launch Code job application.  I am interested in learning how to build a website to run instances of the Madingley Model in the cloud and provide an analysis of the outputs to compare to real data.  In order to do this, I need to learn how to code for real.  I have been looking around the web for courses to learn how to code and have found two courses that I would like to take.  The first is Edx’s CS50.  CS50 covers C and PHP programming and is recommended by Launch Code’s story of success in making a transition to programming here.  The second course that I would like to take is Udacity’s CS101.  CS101 covers Python programming, which is perhaps the most useful language for doing what I want to do.  Both of these courses provide the student with a background in programming and can be used to launch into independent projects.

I read the following papers about General Ecosystem Modeling (GEM) in some leading journals and am inspired to make the transition to hardcore programming and adapting my Ph.D. background to computational work 100%.

  1.  TimetoModelAllLifeonEarth

2.  EcologyMustEvolve

3.  PLOS Biology article for Madingley Model

Here is the abstract for the PLOS Biology paper:

Emergent Global Patterns of Ecosystem Structure and Function from a Mechanistic General Ecosystem Model

Anthropogenic activities are causing widespread degradation of ecosystems worldwide, threatening the ecosystem services upon which all human life depends. Improved understanding of this degradation is urgently needed to improve avoidance and mitigation measures. One tool to assist these efforts is predictive models of ecosystem structure and function that are mechanistic: based on fundamental ecological principles. Here we present the first mechanistic General Ecosystem Model (GEM) of ecosystem structure and function that is both global and applies in all terrestrial and marine environments. Functional forms and parameter values were derived from the theoretical and empirical literature where possible. Simulations of the fate of all organisms with body masses between 10 µg and 150,000 kg (a range of 14 orders of magnitude) across the globe led to emergent properties at individual (e.g., growth rate), community (e.g., biomass turnover rates), ecosystem (e.g., trophic pyramids), and macroecological scales (e.g., global patterns of trophic structure) that are in general agreement with current data and theory. These properties emerged from our encoding of the biology of, and interactions among, individual organisms without any direct constraints on the properties themselves. Our results indicate that ecologists have gathered sufficient information to begin to build realistic, global, and mechanistic models of ecosystems, capable of predicting a diverse range of ecosystem properties and their response to human pressures.


About kayaerbil

I am a Berkeley educated chemistry Ph.D. who is moving into the area of working on developing appropriate technology for communities that are subjected to socio-economic oppression. The goal is to use simple and effective designs to empower people to live better lives. Currently, I am working with Native Americans on Pine Ridge, the Lakota reservation in South Dakota. I am working with a Native owned and run solar energy company. We are currently working on building a compressed earth block (CEB) house that showcases many of the technologies that the company has developed. The CEB house is made of locally derived resources, earth from the reservation. The blocks are naturally thermally insulating, keeping the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Eventually, a solar air heater and photovoltaic panels will be installed into the house to power the home and keep it warm, while preserving the house off the grid. A side project while in Pine Ridge is a solar computer. I hope to learn about blockchain encryption software for building microgrids. In addition, it is an immediate interest of mine to involve local youth in technology education.
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