Current and Future Work


Current NACSE work at the University of Oregon complements the previous work and fills another need scientists expressed during the Tierra project. It was realized that scientist need a data management tool. This need has been looked at extensively, and it was realized that a data management tool could be incorporated in a meta-tool that provides scientists with an environment that would give them control over their tools and data.

The Virtual Notebook Environment (ViNE) project is being developed to meet this need by providing a platform independent, web-based interface to powerful data retrieval, storage, and manipulation capabilities, external tool control, and experiment execution. The web-based interface will combine the metaphor of a traditional lab book with the versatility of hypertext to create an extensible, interactive, and collaborative environment capable of supporting emerging technologies such as data mining.

ViNE consists of various components where each one is being developed with well-defined communication and interaction interfaces that allow components to easily work together, and creates a flexible and extensible tool. Each component uses similar web-based, friendly user-interfaces creating a consistent overall user-interface. The Browse Component allows the scientist to move around in his/her notebook, while the Notebook Administration Component allows the scientist to edit and add to the contents of the notebook. These two components provide the basic functions of the notebook.

The Data Organization Component provides more structure to the scientist data and allows easy access compared to the ad-hoc data storage and access that is often hacked together by scientists. By incorporating the data organization within ViNE, scientists can use the familiar user-interface to work with their data and do not need to worry about the low level details involved with the how their data is stored. Also, programmers are given a generic interface to use when accessing the data from other components. This allows a very programmable and consistent system that is easy for the user and the programmer.

Some more advanced components of ViNE are the Tool Organization and Experiment Control Components. These provide the ability to control and run experiments using external tools with internal data described in the Data Organization Component. Any output data resulting from an experiment will be automatically described and named in the Data Organization Component. Also, if the data is in a readable form (not binary), it can be displayed in the notebook. This provides the scientist with an easy and consistent way to control experiments and store the output data.

ViNE is a large project that has many different research avenues and practical applications, and has become the core of the UO NACSE work.


UO NACSE Home Page
Comments and questions to nacse-questions@nacse.org.