After washing the sand out of our shoes (last nights conference dinner was at the site of an international sand sculpture competition, 'Sandsation') we gather again for the final day of HealthGrid 2009.
During our guided walk enroute to dinner last night I gathered some thoughts on the conference so far from participants:
“Of course some of the stories are similar to me, but there is also technically new and exciting stuff. There is also sociological community news for the community that is exciting,” said Martin Hofmann, head of the Department of Bioinformatics, Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing. “One thing I observed, is that tt seems like major investments in infrastructures, namely EGEE (for Europe), that people's work are more and more aligned – using the same middleware – and I think that is a good direction. At first we had a wild zoo of technical approaches, and that was good for the start, but now I think we see a trend for harmonization and alignment.”
“I was at the last HealthGrid conference in Chicago and it's been interesting to see the development of the projects from a year ago, how some of the initiatives have completed and if they reached their goals,” said M. Edwina Barnett, Program Director, Data Technology Coordinating Center for the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Translational Research Network (RTRN). “One thing I mentioned last year and that still seems to permeate, is that the attendees still seem to be mostly computer people. In each presentation they've said that you need to keep the stakeholders and the users engaged from the beginning to the end and I think was one of the few physicians that may have been in the room!”
“This is a good chance for us exchange our work and to see what is happening around us in this community and to make collaborations,” said Xin Zhou, a conference presenter and maintainer of the grid infrastructure inside the University of Geneva Hospital. “I first participated in the conference three years ago in 2006, then we were talking about 'the plan.' Many people presented what they were going to do and now they are presenting the applications – this represents real progress in the research domain and shows movement towards practice.”