Thursday, March 21, 2013

Global environmental challenges: Creative-B and Earthserver project

I counted five types of mushroom in my Taiwanese
vegetarian meal
On Wednesday afternoon after another colourful and very ecological diverse lunch, we heard from three projects aiming to help with global environmental challenges by serving the computational needs of the earth science, environmental science and biodiversity research communities. 

Riccardo Bruno from the University of Catania introduced the Earthserver project. This project's aim is to ensure barrier-free, open, flexible  and user friendly access and processing of earth science data.  They are developing open-source client and server technology (100+ terabytes to exabyte volumes), as well as providing an archiving facility for six communities demonstrating the feasibility of the project.

Ricardo also introduced delegates to agINFRA, which will allow greater open and participatory data sharing within the agricultural community. A recent paper from the project website describes some  the project's aims.

Yannick Legré, who chaired the session introduced CReATIVE-B. This is a support-action  working with the European research infrastructure LifeWatch ESFRI, which is assembling together environmental data. The bumblebee was used in the logo as its one of the most endangered species on the planet. 

CReATIVE-B will coordinate the integration of six infrastructures across continental divides involving the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the US DataOne and the ATLAS of Living Australia (ALA) The ultimate aim will be to develop an international virtual environment for biodiversity researchers. Each individual regional infrastructure has their own technological expertise, says Yannick. CAS for example is focussing on analysis, where as LifeWatch strengths are in modelling. Not only are there technical challenges in establishing interoperability of infrastructures (i.e. identifying commonalities/differences and a roadmap), but there are legal and governance hurdles in crossing national boundaries. Yannick is leading the Dissemination and Outreach for the project. The project's next workshop takes place in Kunming in China next month (April 8-10, 2013). For more information on CReATIVE-B, check out our GridCast video of Wouter Los (Project Leader of LifeWatch) describing the project.

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