utopia: Web-linking to supercomputers for free
The Borneo Post Sunday September 8 2002
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Researchers collaborating by means of the Internet is nothing new.
However, an evolving Webbased environment created at the University of
Illinois at UrbanaChampaign is redefining long-range collaboration and
linking far-away labs to supercomputers for free.
more than 500 researchers are involved in more than 100 projects using the
Biological Collaborative Research Environment for Structural Biology, or
is being made available to scientists in any research and training area.
It was developed by the Theoretical Biophysics Group at the Beckman
Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.
is a visionary program," said Klaus Schulten, holder of the Swanlund
Chair in Physics and the Theoretical Biophysics Group director.
"BioCoRE is a virtual science laboratory and classroom. We have
developed an America Online for biomedical researchers and trainees, and
now it can serve scientists in many other fields. It lets researchers do
experiments and teach as if they are all in a single room, but they can be
is under continuing development with funding from the National Institutes
of Health. Lead researchers are Schulten; Gila Budescu, a social
scientist; and computer scientist Laxmikant V. Kale. "When we
started, we designed BioCoRE to emulate our facility at the Beckman
Institute, where individuals from different fields work together; they
have their own offices and access to public places and use the resources
for cross-disciplinary collaboration," said Budescu, who oversees the
development area. "The BioCoRE virtual environment, with its shared
project spaces, bridges disciplinary, temporal and geographical boundaries
and offers an optimal and powerful extension to a normal physical office
members can readily access regardless of their computer operating systems
computational tools, data record-keeping capabilities, communications and
document storage, all of which harness the entire research and training
process. With BioCoRE, users with supercomputer accounts gain seamless
access to major National Science Foundation centres.
communicate by way of a control panel, similar to instant messaging
software, and can access a complete archive to review discussions they may
have missed. Thus, team members in different locations can participate in
workshops, and share ideas interactively.
Robert Brunner, a BioCoRE developer who is completing his doctorate in
electrical engineering: "There is no lag time to slow down