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Paths to computational fluency for natural resource educators, researchers, and managers

June 29, 2021

Natural resource management and supporting research teams need computational fluency in the data and model-rich 21st century. Computational fluency describes the ability of practitioners and scientists to conduct research and represent natural systems within the computer's environment. Advancement in information synthesis for natural resource management requires more sophisticated computational approaches, as well as reproducible, reusable, extensible, and transferable methods. Despite this importance, many new and current natural resource practitioners lack computational fluency and no common set of recommended resources and practices exist for learning these skills. Broadly, attaining computational fluency entails moving beyond the simple use of computers to applying sound computational principles and methods and including computational experts (such as computer scientists) on research teams. Our path for computational fluency includes using open-source tools when possible; reproducible data management, statistics, and modeling; understanding and applying the benefits of basic computer programming to carry out more complex procedures; tracking code with version control; working in controlled computer environments; and using advanced computing resources.

Publication Year 2021
Title Paths to computational fluency for natural resource educators, researchers, and managers
DOI 10.1111/nrm.12318
Authors Richard A. Erickson, Jessica Leigh Burnett, Mark T. Wiltermuth, Edward A. Bulliner, Leslie Hsu
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Natural Resource Modelling
Index ID 70223414
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center