Possible Futures for Remote Laboratories

Possible Futures for Remote Laboratories

Mark F. Schulz (The University of Queensland, Australia) and Phillip Long (The University of Queensland, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-186-3.ch025
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This chapter examines four emerging trends in the Internet that have the potential to influence the development of remote laboratories: the real-time web, the Internet of Things (IOT), geographically distributed collaboration, and scientific workflows. Each of these trends is examined and discussed, and a suggested research and development path is offered.
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Five rapidly emerging trends of the Internet prove instructive when looking into the future directions for remote laboratories: the real-time web, the 'Internet of Things' (IOT), collaboration across the web, synchronous distributed collaboration, and scientific workflows. We will take each of these trends in turn and show how, when they are linked together with remote laboratories, they form a powerful new model for implementing, discovering and using remote laboratories.

The Real-Time Web

A 2009 post on the ReadWriteWeb (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS) via the introduction of PubSubHubbub (PubSubHubbub, 2010).

Push technologies have proliferated in commercial products, as well. TiVO is a combined digital video recorder and electronic program guide. Users can select a program to record (rather than a time) and all occurrences of that program can then be recorded. In its original form, the TiVO device polled the Electronic Program Guide (EPG) server every 15 minutes and any changes were downloaded. In 2008, this was changed and an Instant Messaging (IM) service used by the server to send program updates directly to each TiVO device at the time of the change on the server. If a new download of software is required, each individual TiVO is notified directly, and the TiVo device can then request the download via its normal processes; note that this allows the provider to stage the downloads and thus better control the load on its servers caused by a large number of TiVO devices performing simultaneous software updates. Not only does the use of this IM service reduce possible errors caused by the delay in getting current information to the TiVO device, but it also reduces the load on the TiVO EPG server caused by hundreds of thousands of TiVO devices polling for possible program changes.

The take-away message here is the move towards real-time supply of data. Applications will have data pushed at them as soon as the data becomes available; only being able to poll data is no longer acceptable. Remote laboratories will benefit from being both a producer and a consumer of real-time data.

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