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ISIS | MANTIDI firmly believe that oneof the major reasons          ISIS and Tessella Collaborate to Boostfor our success ...
community for software to be developed and                 The Solutionmanaged by the scientists themselves, typically ona...
corrections and simplified diagnostics.                     scientists have usually booked their time months              ...
Scripting in Mantid                                           Requirements                                                ...
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Case study isis - mantid


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Case study isis - mantid

  1. 1. ISIS | MANTIDI firmly believe that oneof the major reasons ISIS and Tessella Collaborate to Boostfor our success hasbeen the expertise and Scientific Output at World Leading Neutron Sourceprofessionalism thatTessella has brought to theproject.Dr Laurent Chapon When ISIS received funding to build a second Target Station, they alsoHead of Crystallography saw the opportunity to invest in external professional software and projectISIS management expertise to help them develop an innovative new instrument- independent data analysis framework. The successful collaboration with Tessella will enable ISIS to provide its global scientific community with higher levels of overall user experience and service. The project has also been made available under open source licence for other neutron scattering facilities to use and extend. Background advanced materials and nano-scale science. ISIS, located at the prestigious Rutherford Appleton This investment provided the ISIS team with the Laboratory in the United Kingdom, is the world’s opportunity to explore a new approach to developing leading pulsed neutron and muon source. The the software needed for the instruments and facility supports an international community of experiments that would be housed in the new target over 2000 scientists and has made a significant station. contribution to many of the major breakthroughs in Dr Laurent Chapon, Head of Crystallography and materials science, physics and chemistry since it one of the main drivers behind the project explains was commissioned in 1985. “Software and data analysis tools are fundamental to our overall scientific process. They enable our The Requirement community to generate and visualise the results of their experiments. This is particularly important In 2003 ISIS received funding from the UK’s Science for many of the new instruments in Target Station and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to expand 2, some of which have hundreds of thousands of the center through the construction of a second detectors and generate a volume of data similar to target station deigned to open up new opportunities the Human Genome every day. However, until now it in soft condensed matter, bio-molecular sciences, has been accepted practice within the science
  2. 2. community for software to be developed and The Solutionmanaged by the scientists themselves, typically onan ad hoc instrument by instrument basis. There A dedicated team was established staffed by full-is a hidden cost with working this way - a lot of time developers from both ISIS and Tessella. Thisduplication of effort as well as poorly documented not only creates close collaboration, but also a highand tested code that scientists find it difficult to use degree of knowledge transferand maintain.” The team used a hybrid RAD (Rapid ApplicationProf Robert McGreevy, Head of Diffraction and Development) approach to flesh out the initialMuon Division continues “We are investing framework, and then build out specific requirementssignificant sums of money into Target Station 2, and using a monthly release schedule. This is not onlyso it made perfect business sense to invest a small an agile and flexible way of working, it also givesproportion of this in outside professional software the scientific community the opportunity to shapeexpertise to help us create a reliable and extensible the environment as it develops. To facilitate thisdata analysis framework that would better serve Tessella run a Steering Committee made up ofour community of scientists. We also felt it was representatives from different scientific groupsimportant to make the environment open source across ISIS.for other neutron scattering facilities to use and The project is called Mantid (Manipulation andextend.”A Unique Collaboration Analysis for ISIS Data). As the name suggests, it provides an extensible data reduction and analysisISIS tendered the project through Catalist, a UK framework for the ISIS neutron and muon dataGovernment list of approved suppliers. that is independent of instrument and analysis“From the start we wanted the project to be a technique.collaboration” says Prof McGreevy “and so it The framework can also be easily extended usingwas important to find a partner that not only had a plug-in mechanism to add further user-defineda deep understanding of the world of science algorithms, data structures and file formats.but also strong complementary expertise inproject management, consultancy and software Care has also been taken to isolate as muchdevelopment. Tessella were a great fit. Their complexity as possible from the areas that mayscientific experience meant they were able to very be extended by users, while providing them withrapidly assimilate our requirements and translate powerful objects to manipulate their data.them into reality.” The framework also provides a full virtual model of any instrument and its geometry using XML. This allows algorithms to be truly independent of the instruments, enabling complex attenuation
  3. 3. corrections and simplified diagnostics. scientists have usually booked their time months advance. Previously it might have taken days toThis could, in a later stage, greatly simplify the resolve such an issue”validation and use of simulated data, and allowssimulated and real data to be compared and The team have also been able to redirectmanipulated within the same framework. This will development resource to accelerate the urgenthelp boost scientific output and was something that commissioning of new instruments.was difficult to achieve in the past. “Investing in a professional, dedicated software team has resulted in significantly improved levels ofThe Results user experience and service for the ISIS scientific community” says Prof McGreevy “which in turnMantid is now being rolled out to new instruments in helps us maintain our reputation as a world leadingTarget Station 2 as well as replacing legacy software neutron source. Choosing to partner with Tessella ison instruments in the older Target Station. Scientists one of the best things we have ever done!”and project sponsors have been delighted with theease of use and flexibility of the new environment. The FutureDr Chapon goes further “Aside from the softwareitself, I firmly believe that one of the major reasons The project team and Steering Committee willfor our success has been the expertise and continue to use the monthly release cycle to shapeprofessionalism that Tessella has brought to the the framework and applications.project. They, of course, handle all the house- As well as commissioning new instruments andkeeping tasks like release schedules, testing, upgrading legacy software on older instruments, thedocumentation and code repositories, but moreimportantly are able to project manage and re- team are looking at ways of handling and visualisingprioritise activity quickly in order to respond to urgent in very large multi-dimensional data sets, andrequests. In the last few months, prioritisation of the integrating Monte-Carlo simulation has been crucial to enablethe commissioning In addition, a number of neutron facilities around theof new Target Station 2 instruments.” world have expressed interest in adopting a similarFor example, in one situation a scientist was approach to software development, as well asunable to complete his experiment because of a contributing to the issue. “We logged the problem and a fix The project output is released publicly at www.was produced within half an hour. This is significant under the GNU General Publicwhen you consider it is costing tens of thousands of License for use within the wider neutron community.pounds a day to operate an instrument and
  4. 4. Scripting in Mantid Requirements Benefits • Easily extended instrument independent • Eliminates duplication of effort, and poorly framework for data analysis documented and tested code • A focus on the importance of software in the • Enables scientists to focus on the science modern scientific process rather than the software • Professional, dedicated approach to software • Increases productivity and scientific output development • Faster commissioning of new instruments • Software & project management partner with • Higher levels of user experience and service for background in science the ISIS community • Project available to wider community as Open • Helps maintain ISIS reputation as world leading Source neutron sourceTessella plc 26 The Quadrant, Abingdon Science Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 3YS, UKT: +44 (0)1235 555511 | F: +44 (0)1235 553301 | E: info@tessella.comTessella Inc 233 Needham Street, Suite 300, Newton, MA 02464, USAT: 1 617 454 1220 | F: 1 617 454 1001 | E: info@tessella.comTessella – successfully delivering IT and consulting services to world leaders in R&D, science and engineering.For decades, Tessella has been successfully delivering IT and consulting services to world leaders in R&D, science, and engineering. Through the application of scientific methods and rigorous quality procedures, weenable clients in life sciences, energy, the public sector, and consumer industries to achieve a wide range of objectives, including, forecasting floods, developing fusion power, enhancing military sensor capability, improvingdrug discovery and development efficiency, and reducing risk to health and the environment in the extraction and production of oil and gas. With offices in Europe and North America, global companies rely on Tessella forbusiness critical assignments.Copyright © Tessella plc 2009, all trademarks acknowledged. Issue: V1.R0.M0 | Feb.09