cyberinfrastructure

Cyberinfrastructure is a term used to describe infrastructure and services used for research. The original report “Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure:” by Daniel Atkins can be found here. Here it is said that

In summary then, the opportunity is here to create cyberinfrastructure that enables more ubiquitous, comprehensive knowledge environments that become functionally complete for specific research communities in terms of people, data, information, tools, and instruments and that include unprecedented capacity for computational, storage, and communication. Such environments enable teams to share and collaborate over time and over geographic, organizational, and disciplinary distance. They enable individuals working alone to have access to more and better information and facilities for discovery and learning. They can serve individuals, teams and organizations in ways that revolutionize what they can do, how they do it, and who participates.

While this particular bit may seem over-enthusiastic the report provides interesting food for thought and it seems that one important aspect is that services, people, collaboration are focused on as well as high-performance computing, grid computing, sensors etc.

In Sweden there is a relatively new committee for research infrastructure (KFI/VR) and I have high hopes for their work. Not least because it is not discipline-specific and it also brings in the Humanities and Social Sciences. It seems quite clear that research infrastructure is going to become more and more important to these areas in the future. HUMlab is an example of a cyberinstructural implementation. Right now I am in Lund and yesterday I visited the new center for language and literature studies here. They have a humanities laboratory. In the outer part there are some larger labs with quite a few computers. In the inner section there are smaller rooms – lab spaces. Here you can find eye-tracking devices and an echo-free room among other things. There is a cognitive science slant to the resources. A great deal of interesting things seem to be going on here and it is apparent that the establishment of this kind of resource also has coincided with structural changes and a reorientation of the Humanities.

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