A Generic Reference Architecture for Collaboratory Scientific Virtual Laboratory

A Generic Reference Architecture for Collaboratory Scientific Virtual Laboratory

Ezugwu E. Absalom (Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria), Buhari M. Seyed (University of Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam), Obiniyi A. Afolayan (Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria) and Junaidu B. Sahalu (Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/jghpc.2013010103
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Abstract

The paper presents a generic reference architecture framework for collaboratory experiment virtual laboratory. The model presented is open source driven, flexible and based on modern tools and technologies. This in effect will allow geographically remote scientists with limited internal laboratory resources, access to wealth of experimental datasets, computing facilities, and distributed hard-to-duplicate laboratory devices. The key issues discussed are architectural design and choice of technology used for creating virtual laboratory. This architecture offers great levels of flexibility, simplicity, and interoperability that are needed to allow integration between heterogeneous distributed grid resources and its clients and executors. The framework, besides theoretical modelling, will provide a road map for future research and open questions.
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The first work on virtual laboratory comprised solely of texts and images of instruments, experiments, concepts, sites and people linked to experimentalization of life (“Dierig, Schmidgen & Dierig,”). Then it was also seen as a platform for discussing experimentation in the areas of life sciences, art and technology. In recent times, two main purpose of virtual laboratory development have been identified and pursued to date. These two areas are education and research. The examples of educational functions of virtual laboratories are (“ Handschuh,”):

  • 1.

    Learning and teaching of chemistry by presenting simulations of experiments.

  • 2.

    Physics presentations, such as structures and properties of molecules.

  • 3.

    Familiarizing with science, including genomics and techniques applied in biology and medicine, example. DNA microarray technology.

  • 4.

    Demonstration of statistic concepts and methods.

In science, virtual laboratories are becoming more popular, facilitating large-scale bioinformatics studies (“GenGrid,”; Susumu et al., 2005) and computational tasks, for example, drug discovery (Buyya, 2003), virology (“ViroLab,”), proteomics and mass spectrometry (“PubMed,”) and other disciplines. They also enable collaboration between real laboratories and companies (“PSNC VLAB,; AlmaGrid,”). Nowadays, due to technological breakthrough and automation of experimental procedures, virtual laboratories may not only collect, store and process data, but also perform some steps of experiments, providing access to expensive and specialized instruments (Afsarmanesh et al., 2000; Belloum et al., 2003; Hey & Trefethen, 2002). Such approach was applied to establish virtual laboratories connected with radio-telescope and NMR spectroscope (“PNSC-NMR,”).

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