These two Theme Issues of Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A contain selected papers from the UK e-Science All Hands Meeting 2008, which was held in Edinburgh between 8 and 11 September 2008 (http://www.allhands.org.uk/2008/). The meeting was a major success, attracting a record number of contributions (250) and a very large number of participants (527).
One of us (P.V.C.) was delighted to have been able to chair the conference in 2008, under the theme ‘Crossing boundaries: computational science, e-Science and global e-Infrastructure’. The title emphasized the intended interdisciplinarity of the meeting as well as the nature of its principal technical challenges. A major goal of the meeting was to ensure that we realized a good balance between scientific (‘applications’) and computer science aspects of e-Science. (We use the word ‘scientific’ here in the widest sense, embracing digitally enabled activities in the arts and humanities.) To shape the meeting into one which achieved the aims implied by its title, we sought to foster a genuine synergy between computer scientists, computational scientists and researchers in all domains, achievable by facilitating access to, and exploitation of, all kinds of distinct resources across disparate administrative boundaries.
The resources required to change the scientific game are extremely heterogeneous—they include software, middleware, computation, data, storage, visualization, networks, information, digital sensors and digital communication—and are geographically widely distributed, generally residing within diverse administrative domains: all need to be made available to users transparently and on demand if e-Science is to have its much heralded impact. The outcome from such an undertaking is clear and substantial: new, faster, better and different science than has been possible before.
The conference Programme Committee was comprised in equal measure of scientists and computer scientists (table 1). The Programme Committee played a key role in organizing the meeting but particularly in reviewing the vast number of submitted papers, which took place in two phases: initially, of the papers submitted as extended abstracts to the conference itself, on the basis of which a selection of 54 full contributions was invited; those manuscripts were then subjected to rigorous peer review, leading to the set of 30 articles that are being published in these two back-to-back Theme Issues. Thus, only just over 10 per cent of the papers originally submitted to the conference made it through to the two Theme Issues which, by itself, is indicative of the quality of the manuscripts to be found within these pages.
We would like to thank all conference participants who, by participating in so many diverse ways, helped to make it such a great success; and, of course, to the authors who submitted manuscripts for consideration for publication. The All Hands Meeting was funded by the UK Research Councils via the EPSRC as its managing agent. The conference received sponsorship from the Joint Information Systems Committee, Microsoft, the UK National Grid Service, the Technology Strategy Board's ‘Grid Computing Now!’ Knowledge Transfer Network and the British Computer Society.
We are grateful to the staff at the National e-Science Centre in Edinburgh for all their help over the past year. In particular, we would like to thank Anna Kenway, Laura Valkonen and Susan McCafferty without whom the twin tasks of chairing the conference and editing these Theme Issues would have been quite overwhelming. As a result, the entire experience proved to be productive, enjoyable and memorable.
Prof. Gregory Crane (Tufts University). ePhilology, eClassics and a cyberinfrastructure for human cultural heritage.
Prof. Robert Grossman (Laboratory for Advanced Computing and the National Center for Data Mining, University of Illinois at Chicago). The emergence of the data center as a scientific instrument.
Dr Peter Kohl (University of Oxford). Developments in computational biology.
Prof. Ross Anderson (Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge). Information security—where computer science, economics and psychology meet.
Prof. Satoshi Matsuoka (Department of Mathematical and Computing Sciences, Tokyo Institute of Technology). Overview of coupled simulation e-Science support in the NAREGI grid middleware.
Prof. Chris Johnson (Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute, University of Utah). Visualizing the future.
Dr James Quirk (Desktop Aeronautics, Inc., Palo Alto). 2360 and all that.
Prof. Jeremy Frey (University of Southampton). Sharing and collaboration.
Prof. Denis Noble (University of Oxford). Are organisms Turing machines? Similarities and differences between genetic and computer code.
One contribution of 16 to a Theme Issue ‘Crossing boundaries: computational science, e-Science and global e-Infrastructure I. Selected papers from the UK e-Science All Hands Meeting 2008’.
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