Within the ever-evolving landscape of research computing, Hark Galarion has found his niche as a part of Guam EPSCoR ‘s (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) cyberinfrastructure team since May 2023.
Galarion has a background in computer science from various institutions including Eastern Oregon University and Guam Community College. He is currently working towards earning his bachelor’s degree at the University of Guam.
As Guam EPSCoR’s new research computing facilitator, he personally applies a more wholistic learning approach to computational science by combining classroom and on-the-job, real-world experience.
Within Guam EPSCoR, Galarion collaborates closely with Bastian Bentlage, PhD. his supervisor at the facility. Bentlage, an Associate Professor of Bioinformatics and EPSCoR Science Co-Lead for Genomes Research Objectives and Cyberinfrastructure, guides Galarion in his work.
“My responsibilities (as a research computing facilitator) involve maintaining servers located at OIT (UOG Office of Information Technology) and assisting researchers in their work,” shared Galarion.
Galarion’s day-to-day tasks go beyond the ordinary. Operating from the UOG Office of Information Technology (OIT), he ensures tasks are streamlined and efficiently distributed across various computing sites. A meticulous approach is crucial, according to Galarion, given the significance of having sufficient computing power to support numerous research projects undertaken by Guam EPSCoR.
Galarion simplifies his work, comparing it to breaking down intricate tasks into manageable pieces, akin to solving a puzzle.
He says, “Basically, it (research computing process) splits the load of the job instead of relying on the OIT side, the data center here, to do one big job, it could basically send out smaller jobs to be worked on (by other centers) faster and then come back.”
Several years ago, UOG OIT initiated its high-speed 100Gb Guam Open Research & Education eXchange (GOREX). The GOREX network connects Guam to Hawaii and California via the SEA-US fiber-optic submarine cable.
This network, capable of facilitating high-speed exchanges of extensive scientific datasets between Guam and other research institutions, improved research initiatives at the university, including EPSCoR.
Galarion’s journey into computer science originated from his passion for gaming. Although the COVID-19 pandemic altered his initial dream of becoming a game developer, his gaming background equipped him with invaluable problem-solving skills essential for his current role.
“In computer science, a lot of problems may occur. There is no straightforward answer, there are roadblocks sometimes, especially when I am doing programming. A lot of things may affect programming itself,” he said.
Beyond his professional commitments, Galarion takes a break by playing soccer or spearfishing and hiking. Having played for the Northern Mariana Islands National Soccer Team, he now participates in the UOG Men’s Soccer Team.
Looking ahead, Galarion envisions implementing similar research computing initiatives at Northern Marianas College in the CNMI. His ambition is to pave the way for the next generation of computational scientists from his hometown.