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Sciserver: Big Data Infrastructure For Science


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Tangle of vortices in a snapshot of numerically simulated three-dimensional and isotropic fluid turbulence.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University are adapting tools developed to handle massive astronomy datasets into online big data storage and analytics tools.

Credit: Kai Buerger/TU Munchen

Johns Hopkins University researchers are adapting tools developed to handle massive astronomy datasets into online big data storage and analytics tools that can be used across scientific disciplines.

The SciServer project, backed by the U.S. National Science Foundation, grew out of work done by Johns Hopkins' Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), an ongoing effort to map the entire universe begun in 1998. The project has generated an enormous amount of data, now in excess of 70 terabytes, which has necessitated the development of tools that would make sharing and analyzing the data easier. The tools include the SkyServer website, the predecessor of SciServer, which enables users to navigate the night sky and search for information about stars and other objects.

The SciServer researchers are taking the lessons learned with SkyServer, such as how to centralize data and make it easily and equitably accessible to all researchers, and applying them to other fields. The project began in 2013 and over the next four years new versions of SciServer targeting specific disciplines will roll out. The goal is to create a drop box-style cloud storage service that researchers can upload data into and use to search it and other datasets.

From National Science Foundation
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