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Data Management and Its Role in Delivering Science at DOE BES User Facilities – Past, Present, and Future...

by Stephen D Miller, Kenneth W Herwig, Shelly X Ren, Sudharshan S Vazhkudai
Publication Type
Conference Paper
Journal Name
Journal of Physics: Conference Series
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 8
Conference Name
SciDAC 2009
Conference Location
San Diego, California, United States of America
Conference Sponsor
DOE Office of Science
Conference Date

Abstract. The primary mission of user facilities operated by Basic Energy Sciences under the Department of Energy is to produce data for users in support of open science and basic research [1]. We trace back almost 30 years of history across selected user facilities illustrating the evolution of facility data management practices and how these practices have related to performing scientific research. The facilities cover multiple techniques such as X-ray and neutron scattering, imaging and tomography sciences. Over time, detector and data acquisition technologies have dramatically increased the ability to produce prolific volumes of data challenging the traditional paradigm of users taking data home upon completion of their experiments to process and publish their results. During this time, computing capacity has also increased dramatically, though the size of the data has grown significantly faster than the capacity of one’s laptop to manage and process this new facility produced data. Trends indicate that this will continue to be the case for yet some time. Thus users face a quandary for how to manage today’s data complexity and size as these may exceed the computing resources users have available to themselves. This same quandary can also stifle collaboration and sharing. Realizing this, some facilities are already providing web portal access to data and computing thereby providing users access to resources they need [2]. Portal based computing is now driving researchers to think about how to use the data collected at multiple facilities in an integrated way to perform their research, and also how to collaborate and share data. In the future, inter-facility data management systems will enable next tier cross-instrument-cross facility scientific research fuelled by smart applications residing upon user computer resources. We can learn from the medical imaging community that has been working since the early 1990’s to integrate data from across multiple modalities to achieve better diagnoses [3] – similarly, data fusion across BES facilities will lead to new scientific discoveries.