Data Science Laboratory

As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, researchers around the world began conducting analyses and visualization on an increasingly varied set of COVID-19 data. To facilitate analytics related to COVID-19, RENCI scientists developed the Blackbalsam digital data science laboratory, a readily available suite of tools and COVID-19 data housed in a common digital environment.

Setting up the right computer environment for analyzing and visualizing data requires a complex combination of skills and a great deal of effort. Blackbalsam helps address both skill and technology barriers by bringing together the best and most recent technology for cluster computing, artificial intelligence, and visualization in a cloud-ready and open-source environment.

In addition to providing built-in tools for sharing and scaling up analyses, Blackbalsam creates a digital laboratory that eliminates the need for each user to assemble all the required computational and data instruments from scratch. RENCI researchers plan to use the platform to examine how fine particulate matter pollution in North Carolina might impact COVID-19 severity. Blackbalsam can be accessed at

RENCI (Renaissance Computing Institute) develops and deploys advanced technologies to enable research discoveries and practical innovations. RENCI partners with researchers, government, and industry to engage and solve the problems that affect North Carolina, our nation, and the world.

© RENCI 2021