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MIDAS Network
Coordination Center

MIDAS is coordinated by the MIDAS Coordination Center (MCC), funded by the US National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). The current MCC is a located at the University of Pittsburgh, with additional team members at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the University of Florida, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The MCC provides a wide range of services to MIDAS members, as listed below.

MIDAS members and collaborators meet once per year at the annual MIDAS meeting. The MIDAS meeting is not a closed meeting, but open to anybody interested. There is no registration fee for the MIDAS meeting, to enable many students, postdocs, and members from low-resource settings to participate. The MCC organizes the annual meeting together with an organizing committee. The next MIDAS meeting is planned for April 15-17, 2020, one weekend before the 8th Annual Disease Modeling Symposium of the Institute for Disease Modeling in Bellevue, WA.

Outreach and Training

The MCC supports MIDAS outreach and training by organizing training workshops or by providing scholarships for MIDAS students to participate in training workshops organized by collaborators. The MCC improves the visibility of MIDAS through online promotion of MIDAS activities (website, social media, newsletter), and through informational booths and materials at conferences, such as the Epidemics Conference. If you have ideas for outreach and training activities relevant to MIDAS, email them to questions@midasnetwork.us.

Example outreach and training activities by by the MCC:

Data Services

MIDAS research depends on data to model real-world situations. As modeling capability grows, so do requirements for detailed, high-quality datasets. The MCC provides three types of data-related services.
  1. Data and model sharing for Open Science. The MCC supports the MIDAS vision for Open Science and provides services for MIDAS members to share data, models, software, and workflows with each other and the broader community. To this end, the MCC is developing an online portal for data discovery and retrieval. In the meantime, the MCC will work with members to develop custom solutions for data sharing needs.
  2. Improving access to existing datasets. Many MIDAS members depend on existing datasets for their modeling research, such as disease surveillance data, climate data, demographic data, etc. The MCC is making such existing datasets easier to discover and retrieve for MIDAS members by creating standardized metadata, standardizing datasets, and by creating an online data discovery and retrieval portal for MIDAS members. The MCC will prioritize datasets based on their value for the MIDAS community. Until the online portal is ready, the MCC is working with individual MIDAS members to help them access high-priority datasets.
  3. Curating Gold Standard Datasets. Some datasets have become reference datasets for modeling studies due to their high quality. Such reference datasets can be used to test a modeling project, or to validate other datasets. Together with MIDAS members, the MCC will identify such gold standard datasets and make them available through the online data portal, where possible.

Infectious disease modeling depends on computational resources. The MCC provides cloud-based high-performance computing (HPC) services to MIDAS members at no charge, funded by the US National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). The MCC has partnered with NIH Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability (STRIDES) Initiative and Google Cloud Platform to provide discounted computing services to MIDAS. Centralized cloud-based HPC services enable a cost-effective, pay-as-you-go solution to MIDAS computing needs, where the administrative functions are efficiently centralized. Each MIDAS member using HPC gets a personal account for their computing needs, administered and paid for through the central pool of MCC-based MIDAS resources. Members interested in using HPC services can submit a request here.

Communication

MIDAS is characterized by interdisciplinary collaboration which depends on strong communication channels and practices. MIDAS researchers often collaborate with public health practitioners, such as outbreak response agencies, or agencies interested in infectious disease forecasting. Collaboration with public health enables translation of MIDAS research into public health practice and societal impact. The MCC supports communication between MIDAS members by maintaining updated contact information on the MIDAS website, mailing lists, and by organizing various training and networking events for the community. The MCC also maintains regular contact with health agencies and connects agencies to MIDAS members and vice versa as needed. In addition, the MCC is working with interested MIDAS members and collaborators to establish a communication protocol for streamlining existing and new collaborations with government agencies interested in using MIDAS models.

Contact

MIDAS Coordination Center

University of Pittsburgh

A737 Public Health

130 DeSoto Street

Pittsburgh PA 15261

United States

Tel: +1 412-624-7693

Email: questions@midasnetwork.us