On Safari in nanoHUB: The Hunt for Prototypical Users

By Michael Zentner

Purdue University



Published on


nanoHUB annually produces a wealth of data about users interacting with the site. These data have a meaning that goes well beyond number of visits, download counts, and other simple metrics available from web analytics tools. These data more importantly have the potential to indicate how users are practicing science and how to accelerate their efforts in learning, researching, and interacting. Further, these data may even present opportunities for interpersonal engagement based on common or complementary scientific contexts. However, to exploit the opportunities made possible by these data, one must first discover patterns that are important in a mass of data that as a whole appears messy and dilute. Our presentation will focus on some of the methods and visualizations under development to discover obscured patterns in user data, and what those patterns may imply. We will also seek feedback from the audience regarding their perceptions on issues that arise when exploiting user interaction data.


Michael Zentner is a Senior Research Scientist at the Rosen Center for Advanced Computing (RCAC) in ITaP at Purdue University working on visualization and data analysis and is the Entrepreneur in Residence at the Purdue Innovation and Commercialization Center. Prior to joining Purdue, he was founder/senior team member of several information technology companies, where he created innovative solutions for extracting patterns from data, collaboration, and constrained optimization. Dr. Zentner has consulted with many Fortune 500 companies to apply these technologies for solving business problems including operations scheduling, strategic capital investment, process improvement, and new product innovation and creation. Dr. Zentner holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from University of Illinois, MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Purdue, and MBAs from Purdue's Krannert School of Management and from Tias Nimbas Business School at Tilburg University in The Netherlands.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Michael Zentner (2013), "On Safari in nanoHUB: The Hunt for Prototypical Users," https://help.hubzero.org/resources/990.

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Nikki Huang

Purdue University


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