Looking for grid-computing applications to make the difference to your research? Then the EGI Applications Database is the right place to look.
The database, AppDB for short, is a library of resources that stores tailor-made computing tools ready for scientists to use. The scope of the database embraces all scientific fields, from tools to simulate exotic excitation modes in physics, to applications for protein sequence analysis.
The database is “basically a shop where you can go to find ready applications,” says Gergely Sipos, from EGI’s user support team. “There is no need to duplicate time-consuming programming,” he adds. The applications are finished products that require only a fraction of the effort usually needed to write a piece of software from scratch. “This saves a lot of time,” Sipos says. “And hopefully it will inspire scientists less keen on programming to use the grid.”
AppDB has been online since 1 July and is the natural successor to EGEE’s database, which was developed by Italian and Greek teams during the project’s third and final phase. As part of the transition to the European Grid Infrastructure, the database came under sole Greek responsibility and it’s now hosted by the Institute of Accelerating Systems and Applications in Athens. No content was lost during the transition and the database has a new interface with improved filtering and searching abilities, making it easier to find out if a specific tool is right for a research project.
Scientists can browse the applications and read their descriptions, including scientific purpose and details of the creator. The developers will soon be able to have their own personal profiles, separate from the applications they created. This will allow researchers to put a face to the application, but it will also simplify maintenance. “We’re hoping that developers find it easier now to keep their profile updated, rather than changing contact details in all the applications where they’re listed,” says Sipos.
AppDB is currently in read-only mode, which means that its content is open for public view but developers will have to wait to register new applications in the database. Writing access will be given to all to developers of grid applications later this year.