Social Networking and Scientific Gateways

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Presentation I gave as part of the Grid Computing Environments (GCE) Workshop at SC09 in Portland on Nov. 20, 2009. Describes different approaches for integrating social networking in scientific gateways, and highlights our experiences using Facebook, Ning and Elgg in developing the GeoChronos scientific gateway.

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Social Networking and Scientific Gateways

  1. 1. Social Networking and Scientific Gateways Roger Curry, Cameron Kiddle and Rob Simmonds Grid Research Centre University of Calgary
  2. 2. Outline  Motivation  Related Work  Integration Approaches  Our Experiences  Conclusions and Future Work GCE 2009 Nov. 20, 2009 2
  3. 3. Motivation  Scientific Gateways  Aim to enable collaboration and transparent access to data and computational resources  Social Networking  Can enhance collaboration capabilities and improve transparency  Widely adopted  Facebook  > 300 million users (50% log on to Facebook on any given day)  > 1 billion chat messages per day  > 2 billion photos, 14 million videos uploaded per month  > 350 thousand applications on Facebook Platform GCE 2009 Nov. 20, 2009 3
  4. 4. Related Work: Social Networking for Science/Academia  Academia.edu  Aims at being Facebook or LinkedIn for academia  Biomedexperts (biomedexperts.com)  Connecting biomedical experts based on author connections between publications  SciWeavers (sciweavers.org)  Bookmark and share links to source code, data sets, publications, presentations, etc.  myExperiment (myexperiment.org)  Share computational/data workflows and other research objects  HUBzero (hubzero.org)  Collaborative platform to share publications, presentations, etc. and provide on-line access to scientific tools  REAL (Research Environments Associated with Learning through Social Networks)  Access to data and compute resources from Second Life  OGCE (Open Grid Computing Environments) (collab-ogce.org)  Recently began development of OpenSocial based gadgets/containers GCE 2009 Nov. 20, 2009 4
  5. 5. Integration Approaches  Build on an Existing Social Network  Build a Custom Social Network Hosted by a Third Party  Build a Custom Social Network Hosted In-House GCE 2009 Nov. 20, 2009 5
  6. 6. Build on an Existing Social Network  Examples: Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, orkut  Advantages  Likely that users are already members  Familiarity with features/tools  Wide range of robust features/functionality  Do not have to scale/maintain collaborative aspects  Disadvantages  Lack of control/customization  Data privacy/ownership  Distractions: advertising, “social noise”  Risks affiliated with vendors going out of business GCE 2009 Nov. 20, 2009 6
  7. 7. Build a Custom Social Network Hosted by a Third Party  Examples: Ning, KickApps, Haystack  Advantages  Customizable (to a certain extent)  Wide range of robust features/functionality  “Social noise” can be avoided  Do not have to scale/maintain collaborative aspects  Disadvantages  Still don’t have complete control/customization  Data privacy/ownership  Advertising, potential fees  Risks affiliated with vendors going out of business GCE 2009 Nov. 20, 2009 7
  8. 8. Build a Custom Social Network Hosted In-House  Examples: Elgg, Drupal, PHPizabi, Dolphin  Advantages  Complete control and customization  Ownership of data  Open source  Advertisements and “social noise” can be avoided  Less risk if vendor goes out of business  Disadvantages  Features aren’t always as robust or fully developed  Must maintain, manage, scale collaborative aspects GCE 2009 Nov. 20, 2009 8
  9. 9. Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) Demonstrator GCE 2009 Nov. 20, 2009 9  Created a Facebook-based interface to provide users with access to cloud-based FDS simulation/visualization services  A one-stop shop  Upload/edit input files  Submit/resubmit/execute simulations  Share/visualize/download results  Message boards
  10. 10. Facebook-based GeoChronos  GeoChronos – CANARIE/Cybera funded project to create an on-line collaborative platform for earth observation scientists  Developed initial Facebook-based prototype for accessing and sharing MODIS satellite data  Create, edit and share subscriptions  List and view details of subscriptions  View thumbnails and metadata  Message boards  Evaluation  Positive feedback from scientists  Concern over customizability and “social noise”  Concern over data ownership GCE 2009 Nov. 20, 2009 10
  11. 11. Ning-based GeoChronos GCE 2009 Nov. 20, 2009 11  Created a custom social network in Ning for GeoChronos  Ported the MODIS application to Ning  Evaluation  Scientists liked more custom environment, but wanted even greater control over customization  Scientists did not like advertisements  Application API not as easy to work with as Facebook API  Data ownership concerns
  12. 12. Elgg-based GeoChronos GCE 2009 Nov. 20, 2009 12  Settled on Elgg  Have incorporated tools for sharing spectral data and running applications on-line  Evaluation  Much more positive feedback  Fully customizable  Full ownership of data  Wide range of features but not quite as polished as Facebook  Usage  Over 70 users from around the world  IAI Summer School, July 2009  Tropi-Dry community  Registration currently restricted – will open to the broader community by end of 2010
  13. 13. Elgg-based GeoChronos GCE 2009 Nov. 20, 2009 13 Interactive Application ServiceSpectral Libraries
  14. 14. Conclusions and Future Work  Conclusions  Custom in-house hosted social network suited needs for GeoChronos best  Other approaches may be more suitable for other communities depending on their needs  Future Work  Plan to monitor usage/adoption to better evaluate impact of social networking  Build more common reusable tools and services that leverage social networking and can be used in other gateways GCE 2009 Nov. 20, 2009 14
  15. 15. Contact Information GCE 2009 Nov. 20, 2009 Cameron Kiddle kiddlec@cpsc.ucalgary.ca http://pages.cspc.ucalgary.ca/~kiddlec/ http://twitter.com/kiddlec http://grid.ucalgary.ca/ 15 http://geochronos.org/ info@geochronos.org

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