MMSN -- Collaboratory

There is increasing interest and investment in using Grid infrastructure for e-Science; science carried out through distributed collaborations hosted and enabled by the Internet. In the US e-Science is emerging with the development of the 'Collaboratory'. A Collaboratory is a 'meta-laboratory' that spans multiple geographical areas with collaborators interacting via electronic means. Collaboratories are intended to enable interactions between scientists in a given research area, promote cross-disciplinary collaborations, accelerate the development and dissemination of basic knowledge, and minimize the time-lag between discovery and application.

The UK and Europe are investing heavily in e-Science programs; the UK for instance has established a National e-Science Centre. Like Australia, the UK is currently building a new synchrotron, and the use of e-Science has been included in the planning for the facility. In the UK e-Science is seen as vital to the successful exploitation of its next generation of powerful scientific facilities, and to the UK's effective use of major facilities elsewhere

The molecular and materials structural sciences inherently provide an ideal partner for computer science, in exploring and establishing the benefits of e-Science and the Grid (see Buyya et al 2003 for a drug discovery example). For instance, each year chemical crystallography produces large quantities of at least three dimensional data in relatively small 'bundles' that represent molecular structures, and this data is particularly well suited to dissemination, visualisation, analysis and discussion over a an internet network. The same is true of biological structures, though the structure model is much larger and the computational and network demands much greater. Reflecting the rising importance of Grid computing for the structural sciences, the American Crystallography Association is focusing on Grid computing in its Advances in Computing Environments for Crystallography session. Similarly, the American Chemical Society has programmed a session entitled Research Collaboratories, Virtual laboratories and Grid Computing for its 2004 meeting.

ARC -- Australian Research Council