The start to a new year

This year has started off very quickly, and this post is much delayed, but I will attempt to give a recap of January’s events both from living in Edinburgh and in research.


After spending a nice Christmas holiday in Mallorca, I came back to Edinburgh for the famous Hogmany (or New Year’s) celebration. All of my friends were out of town, so I joined in on the massive street party and had a wonderful time listening to live music, meeting other revelers from around the world, and enjoying the firework show over the castle. Over 75,000 people took to the streets which made for no cell phone service and limited room to walk around. It was an incredible celebration which I hope to come back to in future years.

Leith and Edinburgh Rotary Club Presentation

I visited my first two Rotary clubs in the greater Edinburgh area in December and January, speaking at both the Leith and Edinburgh Rotary Clubs. At the clubs I spoke about my research and my time in Edinburgh so far, in addition to the bridge projects that I have been involved in (see below for our program’s most recent video highlighting a project I worked on during the summer of 2019). I have been invited to speak at a good number of clubs in the coming months, and look forward to continue sharing my experiences.

Moving to a new flat

The new year also marked moving to a new flat which is closer to Arthur’s Seat which has views to the ocean and over the city. It has become my new morning running area, and while it’s not Boulder’s foothills it is spectacular in its own ways.

Adventures in Cloud Computing

My main work this month has been quantifying the US building stock. And an aspect of work that I hadn’t considered previously is what to do when you have a file that your computer can’t open (or freezes when you do). I am working with a raw dataset that is over 10 GB in size, that even my fairly new computer has a hard time handling. I am performing calculations on this dataset that would take over a week to run on my MacBook Pro, and realized if I wanted to have a functioning computer by the end of it, I needed another solution. I turned to Amazon Webservice (AWS), and have been learning (albeit slowly) about high performance, parallel , and cloud computing (if you were curious, my cloud for this analysis happens to be somewhere in Ireland). This has certainly slowed down my workflow with all the trial and error associated with teaching yourself something new. Yet using this large dataset of building footprints will yield some interesting results I hope. More to come on the results of the analysis once it is completed.

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