In the future, frontier research in many fields will increasingly require the collaboration of globally distributed groups of researchers needing access to distributed computing, data resources and support for remote access to expensive, multi-national specialized facilities such as telescopes and accelerators or specialist data archives. There is also a general belief that an important road to innovation will be provided by multi-disciplinary and collaborative research – from bio-informatics and earth systems science to social science and archeology. There will also be an explosion in the amount of research data collected in the next decade - petabytes will be common in many fields. These future research requirements constitute the 'eResearch' agenda. Powerful software services will be widely deployed on top of the academic research networks to form the necessary 'Cyberinfrastructure' to provide a collaborative research environment for the global academic community.
The difficulties in combining data and information from distributed sources, the multi-disciplinary nature of research and collaboration, and the need to move to present researchers with tooling that enable them to express what they want to do rather than how to do it highlight the need for an ecosystem of Semantic Computing technologies. Such technologies will further facilitate information sharing and discovery, will enable reasoning over information, and will allow us to start thinking about knowledge and how it can be handled by computers.
This talk will review the elements of this vision and explain the need for semantic-oriented computing by exploring eResearch projects that have successfully applied relevant technologies—and anticipated impact on scholarly communication as we know it today. It will also suggest that a software + service model with scientific services delivered from the cloud will become an increasingly accepted model for research.
Lee Dirks is the Director of Education & Scholarly Communications in Microsoft’s External Research division, where he manages a variety of research programs related to open access to research data, interoperability of archives and repositories, preservation of digital information as well as the application of new technologies to facilitate teaching and learning in higher education. An 20-year veteran across multiple information management fields, Lee holds an M.L.S. degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill as well as a post-masters degree in Preservation Administration from Columbia University. In addition to past positions at Columbia and with OCLC (Preservation Resources), Lee has held a variety of roles at Microsoft since joining the company in 1996 - namely as the corporate archivist, then corporate librarian, and as a senior manager in the corporate market research organization. In addition to participation on several (US) National Science Foundation task forces, Lee also teaches as adjunct faculty at the iSchool at the University of Washington, and serves on the advisory boards for the University of Washington Libraries as well as the iSchool's Master of Science in Information Science program. During his career, his team's work on the library intranet site at Microsoft was recognized as a "Center of Excellence Award for Technology" in 2003 by the Special Library Association's (SLA) Business & Finance Division. Additionally, Lee was presented with the 2006 Microsoft Marketing Excellence Award by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer – for a marketing & engineering partnership around a breakthrough market opportunity analysis process which is now a standard operating procedure across Microsoft.