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International workshop asks what Grid can learn from Web 2.0

Guest participants and their affiliations
Guest participants and their affiliations

When Google-Gadget Award-winner Pamela Fox told Grid developers at OGF19 (Open Grid Forum Workshop 19) that she had written some code at 3am on Sunday morning and it had 6000 users by Tuesday, the OGF audience knew they had to pay attention. Add to this the fact that the first time she used a Web API was eight months before.

Fox’s Web 2.0 developers’ tutorial – entitled 'Web 2.0 Mashups: How People Can Tap into the 'Grid' for Fun & Profit' – was one of several invited talks at the workshop on Web 2.0 and the Grid organized at OGF19 by David De Roure.

'In Grid and Web 2.0 we see different approaches to building interoperable systems,' said De Roure, who leads OGF activities on the Web-Grid interface and founded the Semantic Grid activity. 'The workshop was the first crucial opportunity to see what Grid can learn from the successes of Web 2.0, like mashups,' he added.

The keynote speakers at the event at Chapel Hill, North Carolina,were Professor Noshir Contractor from NCSA, a leading world expert in social networks, and Professor Carole Goble of the myGrid project in University of Manchester who presented her vision of myExperiment – a social space for scientists which owes more to Web 2.0 sites like MySpace than to traditional grid portals.

Goble explained: 'myExperiment is about sharing the digital artifacts of the scientific process – like workflows, services and data – so that scientists can build on each other’s work. This accelerates time-to-experiment as well as insight and dissemination, and it enables scientists to be more creative – to be scientists not programmers.'

The workshop also featured an update on Semantic Grid activities. Since its inception in 2001, many Semantic Grid projects have successfully completed, and best practice in this combination of Grid and Web technologies is becoming established.'When we wrote the Semantic Grid report in 2001 we presented the technologies we felt were needed to fill the gap between the e-Science aspiration and the Grid reality' said De Roure. 'If we did this exercise today, Web 2.0 would feature significantly.'

The closing discussion at the workshop observed that cyberinfrastructure can be built with both Grid and Web 2.0, and discussed this new manifesto. A second workshop is being planned.

For further information, including the presentations, see www.semanticgrid.org

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Posted by Joyce Lewis on 16 Feb 2007.