Department of
Computer Science

More about the Exabyte Informatics research theme

The Exabyte Informatics research theme is inherently interdisciplinary, based around a core hub of research activities at the Department of Computer Science. It exploits the state-of-the-art high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure at the University, as well as the petascale storage facility currently being put in place.

Fundamental to the Exabyte approach is the idea that data is engaged in a continuous cycle of computational operations that enhance the data. For instance, terabytes of video footage of penguin colonies can be used to train penguin recognition models, which can then be used to enhance the data such that individual penguins can be tracked and their behaviour analysed. The key computational methods can be grouped under the headings Annotation, Integration and Mining.

By supporting these computational methods, Exabyte Informatics offers the opportunity to exploit the synergies arising from similar types of data occurring in very different disciplines. For instance, image data plays a major role in astronomy, theatre studies, neuroscience, and medieval studies, to name but a few. Interaction networks form another type of data occurring in a wide range of domains.

To date, the research theme has followed a bottom-up approach, starting from a nucleus of exemplar projects demonstrating the potential of the approach. A first version of a Exabyte Research Hub is being developed, allowing the upload of new data and the application of a suite of data enhancement operations.

We have also interviewed many scientists from a range of disciplines, in order to gain insight into how scientists of different disciplines actually work: what goes into the research, what comes out and what happens in the middle (see 'Workflow' report below). We are keen to hear from other researchers from all disciplines who are interested in developing partner projects.

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