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Data-Intensive Research: how should we improve our ability to use data

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Web cast of plenary talks presentations and other material used at the DIR workshop

Early draft of the workshop report


15th March 2010 10:00am-19th March 2010 2:00pm

e-Science Institute, 15 South College Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AA. Tel: +44 (0)131 650 9833

Organisers: Malcolm Atkinson, David De Roure, Jano van Hemert, Shantenu Jha, Bob Mann, Stratis Viglas and Chris Williams

Twitter users, please use #datares as a tag, follow us here

Non-twitters can see the transcript of all tweets during the workshop



Today there is a growing abundance of data often in large-scale collections or with great complexity. It is pertinent to every pressing strategic challenge, to the deep questions that research addresses and the urgent application sciences. A great deal of thought is needed to improve our capabilities to use data well in a wide variety of research endeavours. The workshop will bring together practitioners, theoreticians and technologists with a wide range of viewpoints to shape a strategy for the thinking and research that is needed.

The cross-fertilisation of ideas between disciplines and viewpoints will spark new insights and steer us towards more effective strategies. This will be captured as a map of the research challenges and potential routes to address them with flags indicating where groups and individuals are working and what they plan. It will draw attention to identified gaps.

The purpose of this meeting is to bring together experts in a complementary set of areas of Data-Intensive Research, bring each other up to speed on the thinking in other areas and then identify research challenges and strategies.

Proposed outcomes of the meeting

Proposed outcomes of the meeting include:

  • A proposal for a Data-Intensive Research theme for eSI (putative theme leader: Malcolm Atkinson).
  • Groups committed to continue working together on specific Data-Intensive Research and to joining in a theme if it is supported, e.g. researchers with a practical challenge working with theorists and technologists to explore a specific category of challenges or strategy that emerged during the workshop.
  • A map of the research challenges and potential routes through them with flags indicating where groups and individuals are working and what they plan. This will draw attention to identified gaps.

Welcome and Invitation to Contribute to the DIR Discussion

The organisers would like to welcome everyone to the Data-Intensive Research Workshop. The workshop is now full so some people may be joining in via our web casts; we include them among our participants.

The goal of the workshop is to gather ideas and we therefore invite every participant to enter discussions and add their ideas via the workshop wiki. Please feel welcome to allocate yourself an account on that wiki by clicking the log in button on the top right. It gets you to type in words that are partially disguised to prevent OCR so that bots do not scribble all over the wiki. We hope you will not mind making this extra effort. Please sign your additions, so that we can credit you properly.

We are all trying to improve our understanding of the requirements and priorities for Data-Intensive Research; to help with this goal, Roger Barger, Microsoft, who is giving a talk on Friday, has prepared a questionnaire that is particularly appropriate for those using data in any discipline - please help by completing his questionnaire.

Target Audience

The tutorials on day 1 are open for anyone to attend. Days 2-5 are by invitation only. To help us all understand who is participating, please describe yourself on the participants' list.


This event will start at 10:30 Monday 15th March 2010 and close at 14:00 on Friday 19th March 2010.

A dinner is being held in Hotel du Vin on the 18th March at 19:30. We are sorry that some people did not get into the dinner because we reached the capacity of the venue, however, they can stay for the buffet after the Chris Bishop Turing Lecture. Participants registered for Thursday have been automatically registered for this lecture.

  • Monday 15th March Open meeting with show-and-tell tutorials and demonstrations to bring everyone up to speed with the current methods, tools and thinking. A drinks reception will take place in the Chapter House.
  • Tuesday 16th March The challenges of scale and current thinking about how to address them. Challenges from research into earth-systems, environmental, and physical sciences will be presented this day.
  • Wednesday 17th March The challenges of complexity in data and how to address them. Challenges from biological and life sciences, medicine and social sciences will be presented this day.
  • Thursday 18th March Interacting with data; the challenges of finding ways to present data, steer analyses and control searches. Challenges from engineering, design, diagnosis, planning and decision support will be presented this day.
  • Friday 19th March Drawing the map of how to improve our capabilities for using data.

You can read more and discuss each of these days at these places:

There are several cross-cutting themes running during the week; these will be manifest in the talks and during breakout sessions.


Biographies of the speakers are available for viewing on the Biographies page.


Abstracts of the presentations are available for viewing on the Abstracts page.


Assistance with accommodation is offered once you have registered.


Please go to the bookings page to apply to attend this meeting.


Please do not make any travel bookings until your application has been formally accepted.

Important Dates

  • 5th January - Registration Opens
  • 8th March - Registration Deadline*
  • 8th March - Date we will respond to your application by (Please note this is the latest date by which we will respond to your application. It is normal policy for us to respond within 5 working days where possible.)
  • 15th March - Event Starts at 10:00hrs


Full details on how to get to the e-Science Institute are available at:


Enquiries should be made directly to our Conference Administrator (

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