Wednesday, March 10, 2010

From Infrastructure towards Applications Research

This is Andy Turner's forth in a series of GridCast posts about ISGC 2010. His previous post is here.

Day 1 of the main conference began with an opening ceremony and a set of 3 keynote speeches about infrastructure. With the failure of my alarm clock batteries and a sleepy head I was late, but listened to Steven Newhouse present about EGI. Steven is one of the GridCast team at ISGC 2010. I said hello to him later after we left a sumptuous reception, but I don't think he recognised me. Prior to the reception, which was a posh sit down meal, I was trying to catch up all day after being late and upon arrival back at my accommodation my worry was more about the state of my paper and presentation slides for the next day, so there was no GridCast post from me yesterday.

Today was Day 2 of the main conference which began with another set of keynote presentations and an air of transition from talk mainly about infrastructure to talk more about enabled research applications. The session began with more of an infrastructure presentation delivered by Bernard Marachel about South American grids and their sustainability and linkage with other grids. (I guess Bernard, who travelled here from Brazil, is the delegate that has had the longest journey of anyone to be here. At lunch our chat strengthened this theory as Bernard reckoned it was at least 20000km in any direction from his home to here.) Next came a presentation by Rob Procter about activities in what has been termed e-Social Science in the UK some of which I have been involved in. One thing Rob said chimed in nicely with what Mingchao Ma said yesterday in the Grid Security and Networking I Session: that is that the infrastructure is people and so investing in people is very important. I appreciate those kinds of sentiments, people are generally the most important part of an organisation.

The final keynote was my favourite talk of the session. It was about e-Wissenschaft and was presented by Tobias Blanke. It was funny and informative and witty and thought provoking. We are on our way to data driven research in the humanities and social sciences and we have a virtual infrastructure called the Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH) to support us. DARIAH is an organisation aware of the importance of people in establishing its connections, indeed many of its connections are in the form of liaison between people.

More from me from the day can be found here.

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