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CUAHSI Compute User Research and Sync Web App Documentation

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Created: Apr 22, 2020 at 8:46 p.m.
Last updated: Oct 05, 2020 at 1:36 a.m.
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This resource serves as an archive of the artifacts generated by the 2019-2020 Olin College of Engineering CUAHSI SCOPE team. Our work centered on improving the integration of CUAHSI JupyterHub with HydroShare. The work conducted as part of our SCOPE senior capstone project.

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Olin SCOPE Collaboration with CUAHSI

This resource serves as an archival space for all artifacts generated by the 2019-2020 collaboration between the Olin College of Engineering SCOPE senior capstone program and CUAHSI.

Project Summary

CUAHSI Compute is a free collection of web-based computing platforms that are actively developed and maintained by the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc (CUAHSI) with the goal of making cloud-based education and water science research more accessible to members of the hydrology community. It offers a means of running code written in various software languages right in a web browser without any laborious or frustrating setup process. Additionally, its integration with HydroShare, a water data and model repository, allows users to easily reproduce work done by others and smoothly share their own work with others. The oldest and most widely used compute platform of this collection is called CUAHSI JupyterHub.

While CUAHSI JupyterHub offers great promise, its evolution thus far has centered largely on technical functionality. Ease of use, including the user interface and user experience, has yet to be fully refined, particularly with regard to the integration with HydroShare. This has left the system in a state where it is accessible to its creators but much less so to new users. CUAHSI recognizes this shortcoming and has partnered with an Olin College of Engineering SCOPE team in order to address it. The Olin College of Engineering SCOPE program is a senior capstone program which seeks to give students experience working on “real-world” problems. Groups of four to five undergraduate engineering seniors are paired with a sponsoring company or organization for one academic year to work on a project with implications beyond Olin. We, the 2019-2020 CUAHSI SCOPE team, have spent the past eight months working with CUAHSI in order to use our experience in user design and software development to improve the user experience of the CUAHSI JupyterHub platform.

To identify the needs of potential users and the current gaps in CUAHSI JupyterHub, we interviewed hydrologists and conducted co-design activities both virtually and in-person. We then used our insights to develop a web app, called CUAHSI JupyterHub Sync, that better integrates the CUAHSI JupyterHub platform with the HydroShare repository. The app allows users to easily work with a HydroShare resource’s data with the tools in CUAHSI JupyterHub and to intuitively synchronize data between CUAHSI JupyterHub and HydroShare, making the integration of CUAHSI JupyterHub with HydroShare more seamless. It also drastically reduces the number of steps needed to synchronize data between the two from six or more steps down to only a single step. An alpha version of this app is in the process of being deployed by CUAHSI for preliminary testing by members of the hydrology community.

In summary, our user research has unearthed novel insights into how hydrologists interact with existing cyberinfrastructure and what needs are still going unmet. We used these insights to develop a working prototype of CUAHSI JupyterHub Sync, which provides an improved data management interface for the JupyterHub component of CUAHSI JupyterHub. We have taken the first steps toward implementing a more seamless web-based computing experience and believe we have laid the groundwork for CUAHSI to take its offerings to the next level.

(View "Final_Report.pdf" for our full report.)

Archived Artifacts

Project GitHub

The full codebase for our project can be found on GitHub under hydroshare/hydroshare_jupyter_sync. Please reference the Issues section of the repository for the latest on the development of the app.


Funding Agencies

This resource was created using funding from the following sources:
Agency Name Award Title Award Number
National Science Foundation Cyberinfrastructure for Advancing Hydrologic Knowledge through Collaborative Integration of Data Science, Modeling and Analysis OAC-1664061


People or Organizations that contributed technically, materially, financially, or provided general support for the creation of the resource's content but are not considered authors.

Name Organization Address Phone Author Identifiers
Christina Bandaragoda University of Washington Washington, US
Jon Pollak CUAHSI
Kyle Combes Olin College of Engineering
Charlie Weiss Olin College of Engineering
Emily Lepert Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
Vicky McDermott Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
David Tarboton Utah State University Utah, US 4357973172 ORCID

How to Cite

Weiss, C., V. McDermott, E. Lepert, K. Combes (2020). CUAHSI Compute User Research and Sync Web App Documentation, HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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