Oxford Interdisciplinary e-Research Centre - building on e-Science

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Interdisciplinary e-Research Centre


The Oxford e-Science Centre helps researchers in science to do better, faster and different research using joined-up large-scale clusters of computers (the 'Grid') together with digital libraries, databases, and scientific software accessible from their own desktops. In the Oxford the e-Science Centre has been concerned to establish what researchers actually need from e-Science facilities and to help develop the applications to meet those requirements. Fundamentally, e-Science is about scientists working together even when located in different countries or within different types of organisation (universities or industry, for example). The Oxford e-Science Centre itself is a distributed, 'virtual' centre based within a number of departments including the University's computing services and its computer science department. As a result of the Centre's work the University now has an impressive range of e-Science projects with a particular emphasis on biomedical research. For example, the Integrative Biology Project is producing complex computational models, requiring very intensive use of the Grid, which to help study heart disease and cancer tumours. This funding proposal seeks to build on this success and ensure the University's other world-leading research activities are included, especially within the social sciences and humanities.The University is very supportive of e-Science (now often known as e-Research) and has invested 7.5 million in a purpose-built e-Science Laboratory which will include within it a new Interdisciplinary e-Research Centre (IeRC). It is through the IeRC that this funding proposal aims to help researchers in all subjects benefit from the exciting use of computer technologies which the e-Science programme at Oxford has developed.We will do this primarily by talking to researchers, learning about their requirements and keeping them informed about new technologies which others have found useful. We will also assist researchers to talk to each other through virtual collaboration tools (e.g. the AccessGrid ), to make better use of a national grid of computing clusters, and to encourage both researchers and other members of the University to dedicate some of their own desktop computing power to a University computer grid (known as a CampusGrid ). In effect, we are helping to build a virtual research environment at Oxford and to make sure uses, and is compatible with, virtual environments being developed nationally and across the globe.


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