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Feature - Sharing in the Taverna

Feature - Sharing in the Taverna

Researchers used Taverna to model molecules such as bacteria. Image courtesy of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Grids are powerful tools, but for many scientists they remain too complex to easily adopt. Now the KnowARC project's work with the Taverna tool has taken the first steps toward making grid integration a seamless experience for the bioinformatics community.

Taverna, developed by the myGrid project, is a multiplatform system for designing and executing bioinformatics workflows.

"The Taverna workbench gives biological scientists the means to rapidly assemble data analysis pipelines," explained Carole Goble, project leader of myGrid. "It repeatedly and systematically gets results that used to take days in mere hours."

Taverna caught the interest of Steffen Möller, a bioinformatics expert at the University of Lubeck, Germany. Möller and Hajo Krabbenhoft, a member of his team, started looking into how to connect it with KnowARC's Advance Resource Connector (ARC) grid middleware, which they are involved in through the EC-funded KnowARC project.

A snapshot of Taverna at work. Image courtesy Steffen Möller, University of Lübeck, and the KnowARC project

Why Taverna?

"We wanted to give Taverna users a way to access the grid directly from their everyday work environments," said Möller. "Now, they can enter a simple URL from within the familiar Taverna interface, and the system will download an ARC client in the background and use it just like any local computing resource."

ARC's strength is that is can be rapidly deployed on many platforms, and can also interact with numerous local resource managers. This means it can be used to glue together almost any kind of computing resources and present them to Taverna as a single entity.

"Linking up Taverna with ARC gives our users access to powerful grid capabilities without making things hard," said Goble.

Taverna also allows users to share workflows through a partner project,
myExperiment, which provides a social network for experimental scientists.

"By integrating myExperiment and Taverna, scientists are able to share more than workflows, they can share experiences and find collaborators. Adding ARC to the mix further extends this community to the computational grid field," explained Möller. "Now we are excited to see how the scientists will make use of the system!"

-Owen Appleton, Emergence Tech Limited & the KnowARC project

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