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Home > iSGTW 6 January 2010 > Feature - New Year Predictions

Feature - New Year Predictions

This week marks the beginning of a new decade. What does the future hold for eScience? To find out, iSGTW spoke with experts from all walks of eScience. Here’s what they had to say.

Image courtesy of Francois Grey

François Grey

Visiting Professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Tsinghua University, Beijing

Citizen cyberscience

What do you think will be the big story or trend within your area of expertise in 2010?
Within the area of citizen cyberscience, expect to see a big growth of projects that invite volunteers to contribute via their smart phones. The switch to this platform for volunteer computing - and above all volunteer thinking - is going to enable far greater public participation in science.

What do you think will be the big story or trend within e-science as a whole in 2010?
The developing world will catch up with the industrialized world, and in many areas overtake it when it comes to exploiting distributed computing and other distributed science activities that tap into volunteer resources. This is because the technology is highly appropriate to researchers with modest means who cannot afford grids or clouds. It is also because of the anticipated huge growth of online users in developing countries. For example, China already has more Internet users than the United States. And that represents less than 20 percent of their population.

Any predictions or hopes for the 2010s?
Virtual worlds and the virtual goods and services they provide will become a significant part of the global economy, and of many people's lives. Virtual worlds will also provide a novel platform for scientific collaboration. Increasingly, the "digital divide", rather than being a distinction between rich and poor, will describe a separation between those who live a good part of their lives in virtual worlds and those who don't.

Laptops will be on their way to extinction by 2020, superseded by smart phones with innovative displays that compensate for their small size.

Image courtesy of Asli Zengin

Bob Jones

EGEE Project Director

Grids, policy, and real-time systems.

What do you think will be the big story or trend within your area of expertise in 2010?
The impact of virtualization and clouds on grids. I think we will move towards some form of distributed computing system with simplified interfaces resembling clouding systems.

What do you think will be the big story or trend within e-science as a whole in 2010?
The other key point is the importance of data management for the research community. The amount of data to be treated will continue to explode, as will the open access movement, all of which will put even more importance on data management facilities.

Any predictions or hopes for the 2010s?
A generalized policy ensuring that all data and results produced with public money will be publically available.

A radical change in the way data is supported with a better understanding of what is the whole life-cycle of data.

The creation of a suite of new research facilities, as outlined by the ESFRI roadmap, advancing our knowledge in a whole range of scientific fields.

Image courtesy of Dan Katz

Dan Katz

TeraGrid GIG director of science
Senior fellow at the Computation Institute, Chicago, and Argonne National Laboratory

Parallel and distributed applications.

What are the most interesting things you foresee happening in the field of eScience?
I think the most interesting thing happening is federation of cyberinfrastructure, as in NSF's CF21. We're already moving in this direction at a component level, such as through InCommon as an identity mechanism and our attempts to bring TeraGrid and OSG together. EGI is another clear example. Ideally, all of these things will make it easier for end users to do their work without having to worry about details that aren't part of their research.
Image courtesy of Steven Newhouse

Steven Newhouse

EGEE-III technical director
Chair of Open Grid Forum board interim director

e-Infrastructure provision for multi-disciplinary research.

What do you think will be the big story or trend within your area of expertise in 2010?
Consolidation, integration, and harmonization. Projects that have been separate infrastructures to date are under increasing pressure from their users and their funders to become more integrated. Integrated software, accounting, access policies etc. Why should users have to re-learn how to jump over another (new) barrier when they move to a different infrastructure? Why should funders support different e-infrastructures for high throughput, high performance, volunteer desktop or cloud computing? Why should the software remain such a barrier to entry? The web has reached ubiquity by the adoption of a core standard that still supports innovation (HTTP and HTML).

What do you think will be the big story or trend within e-science as a whole in 2010?
Demonstration of how the production infrastructures can really support large scale data analysis. The data from the LHC will be analyzed for real. The data from various life science projects will become more reliant on e-infrastructure to support their day to day work. This research paradigm will become embedded in the currently active disciplines and provide a nucleus for new research areas.

Any predictions or hopes for the 2010s?
E-infrastructure (and cyberinfrastructure) should start to disappear from peoples’ radars. You no longer mention that you used a web browser to do your research, so why should you mention your use of e-infrastructure? By the end of the decade e-infrastructure will either be totally embedded in the research model or it will be dead.

Image courtesy of Jamie Shiers

Jamie Shiers

Leader of the Experiment Support Group in CERN's IT department
Coordinator of HEP Virtual Research Community in EGI
Leader of the Services for Heavy User Communities work package in EGI InSPIRE

Grids, computing for high energy physics, data management, and databases

What do you think will be the big story or trend within your area of expertise in 2010?

The most exciting thing in the area of grid computing for high energy physics will be supporting the data taking, processing and analysis from the LHC experiments during the 2010 run. This will be combined with challenges - or opportunities - as we face a number of transitions. These include EGEE to EGI as well as a number of internal changes within CERN.

What I see as a big opportunity is working together with other disciplines in the various EGI and related projects. It is important that we show the benefits of working together - both from a scientific point of view (where the advantages are rather straightforward) as well as from the (much) longer term socio-economic point of view. We can and must demonstrate value over periods much longer than years (say 1-2 decades) that have the potential to affect Europe and beyond. If you think this is impossible, try putting a figure on the benefit to the world of the Web - invented at a similar stage in the lifecycle of CERN's previous flagship collider, LEP.

What do you think will be the big story or trend within e-science as a whole in 2010?
The answers that many might give here are clouds and/or virtualization. I'd prefer to think it will be service. We've spent a long time bringing grid computing to its current state; now we have to deliver a reliable and flexible service to our users and demonstrate its value and benefits to the funding agencies.

Any predictions or hopes for the 2010s?
Looking back to the early days of LEP - which started in 1989 - a ‘revolution’ was about to happen in computing for High Energy Physics. Not only did we move almost immediately from mainframes to clusters of high-end workstations and then PCs, but soon after overturned virtually every foundation stone of our computing paradigms. To predict exactly what will happen this decade is clearly impossible, but I'd expect changes at least as radical - if not more - than those that took place in the ten years after the LEP startup.

Anything else you’d like to share?
“The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet.”
-science fiction author William Gibson


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 Mark your calendar

December 2010

13-18, AGU Fall Meeting

14-16, UCC 2010

17, ICETI 2011 and ICSIT 2011

24, Abstract Submission deadline, EGI User Forum


January 2011

11, HPCS 2011 Submission Deadline

11, SPCloud 2011

22, ALENEX11

30 Jan – 3 Feb, ESCC/Internet2


February 2011

1 - 4, GlobusWorld '11

2, Lift 11

15 - 16, Cloudscape III

More calendar items . . .


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