Winner interview – Zeqian (Sophia) Meng


Zeqian Meng participated in the 2015 eScience student competition with the entry “Negotiation Protocol for Agile e-Science collaboration”, winning the prize for “Best eScience innovation using eScience tools outside research”.

We were able catch her for a short interview just before the eScience 2015 conference. You can also meet her during the poster session on Tuesday 1st September (see the programme for details).

Q1. Who are you? 

ZM: Name: Zeqian Meng (Sophia), Place of birth: China, University: The University of Manchester Expertise: distributed computing, formal verification, ontology

Q2. How did you originally get involved in the eScience? What were your expectations then?

ZM: The guest talk given by Dr Will Venters in university made me start to think about the gaps between e-Scientists’ requirements and services supplied by computing infrastructures, and what are the reasons lead to these gaps. Combined with the increasing use of Cloud computing, I started to think about the model and lifecycle of resource sharing in e-Science collaboration. I just want to do something will be used by people, and something would do a little bit contribution to this community.

Q3. What is the most interesting issue you’re working right now?

ZM: To enable user-interactive computational steering upon existing systems that is not supported it originally.

Q4. You end up in an elevator with a representative of a funding agency – what will you pitch and how? 

ZM: Hi, I am doing PhD studies, which research about solutions to enable lightweight, dynamic, and reliable way for resource sharing in e-Science research group. It separates people’s concerns and satisfies their demands. The people here include e-scientist, funding agency, and computing infrastructure providers. For example, as a funding agency, you probably want to limit your budget or to manage computing resources allocation for research groups, right? My research can help you with that.

Q5. What are your plans for the 2015 eScience conference? (e.g. talks or interest, meetings planned etc)

ZM: To talk with experts from different areas about my work and get feedback; To search answers for what are the changes introduced by cloud computing in e-Science? What are the trends in this community? Do these trends match with my research expectations? What my research can contribute to such trends? I would like to talk with e-Science supporting infrastructure experts about the testbed I am developing, and seek for possible collaboration opportunities.

Q6. What would be your advise to someone starting at a university who wants to do eScience?

ZM: (from a view of Computer Science discipline) Start ambitiously, end humbly. Once have ideas about what you are (probably) interested in, learn as much as you can to get enough background knowledge. Then narrow down to a particular point, which will be the major problem you are going to solve. If your research is also about supporting scientific research as mine, then users’ opinions are important, as there maybe gaps between your understanding and others. The most important thing is, to enjoy it and have fun.

Q7. What was the most important question we forgot to ask – and how would you answer it?

ZM: Question: “What’s the most enjoyable and challenging part of doing research in e-Science for you?”

It is a community including scientists from different areas, which makes it more like an art of balance, to balance each party’s demands and contributions to get the possible best solutions.

Thank you very much for your time, hope the conference lives up to your expectations!