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IWSG-Life2011 update

International Workshop on Science Gateways for Life Sciences

Portals and gateways play a crucial part in the ongoing process of increasing the number of scientists and researchers using the grid. Listening to what this group of specialist developers is doing was always going to be benficial, but the coincidence of this event, held at the University of Westminster in the heart of London, with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Virtual Research Community (VRC) for Life Sciences made it doubly so. This small coordinating organisation, to be known as the Life Sciences Grid Community (LSGC) will appear in many places in the future as the community is extremely active in many areas.

We have heard many fascinating talks today - both lightning and detailed - and I hope we can capture some of this valuable knowledge within the EGI support channels of the Applications Database and, if appropriate, the Training Marketplace in the near future. The usability of software applications and portals has been a recurring theme at this event. As we work to reduce the barriers to grid usage, usability will become an increasingly important topic at future workshops.

Another interesting and related topic has been the breakdown of roles within the configuration of applications, portals, middleware and networks. The E-BioInfra presentation - given successfully by Shayan Shahand in Amsterdam via Skype - included an impactful graphical representation of the whole service configuration from grid to desktop with photographs of all of the individual specialists required in the work chain. I think that this image would form a strong basis for a further article in the importance of usability.

 

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