[LINK] Big Data for Big Science

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Tue Jul 10 12:36:27 AEST 2012

Greetings from the Australian National University in Canberra, where Ian 
Gorton, from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of the US Dept. 
of Energy, is speaking on "Towards a Collaborative Scientific Knowledge 
Management Platform with Velo". The software has been used for modelling 
carbon sequestration and climate change.

Velo is designed for high performance computing. Scientists want to be 
able to easily get at their data. Large scientific instruments can 
produce large amounts of data quickly. This requires that the 
definitions of the data and the requirements ("Scientific 
Knowledge-Management Requirements") need to be understood by the people 
building the software. Also new applications need to be able to access 
old data and applications.

Traditionally, a new software tool would be built for each area of 
science. However, this is becoming prohibitively expensive. Just as is 
using more package software, so is science.

Velo uses open source software, including MediaWiki and the Alfresco 
Content Management System (CMS). These are tools normally though of 
being used for e-publishing (the Australian Computer Society uses 
Alfresco for keeping its course content).

The Velo approach is an interesting one as it goes some way to unite the 
document and data repositories which universities, such as the ANU are 
now building. The Australian National Data Service (ANDS), location at 
ANU, is building a system for cataloguing and allowing sharing of 
research data. But this is separate from the repositories used for the 
research papers about the same data. Essentially the same technology is 
used to describe the data and the papers and so there is no reason why 
they need to be kept separate.

At question time I asked Ian when the software would be freely 
available. He replied that the interfaces are now being documents and 
the software should be freely available online as open source in ten 
weeks time.

Links at:" http://blog.tomw.net.au/2012/07/big-data-for-big-science.html

Tom Worthington FACS CP, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards

Adjunct Lecturer, Research School of Computer Science,
Australian National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/

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