Benefits to Researchers
As mentioned previously, one of the major benefits to researchers demonstrated
by the SAMD approach to Grid technology is the reduction in the amount
of time required to do the research. This is due to bringing the
various resources together (as far as the user is concerned), within a custom-designed
interface, and simplifying the authentication procedures. The following Units
will explain how this was done in the SAMD project.
There are many good reasons for social scientists to use Grid technology,
especially if they have research interests that involve access to large data
sets and intensive computing facilities:
- There is a wealth of socio-economic data held nationally that
could inform several research paradigms, but, hitherto, have been difficult
to manage. For example, the UK 2001 Census datasets recently released
is estimated at over 20 gigabytes, twice the size of the previous release.
Global databanks produced by international agencies now contain thousands
of indicators for many countries. This trend is likely to continue due to
enhanced global integration.
- More ambitious research designs focussed on themes such
as trade, economic and social governance and wider issues of human development
can benefit from access to this vastly increased databank provided the technical
infrastructure can support this complexity in an accessible manner. This
is what the designers of the Grid are aiming to provide for social science
and other researchers.
- To facilitate the scaling-up of quantitative research
(e.g. to include more data points in analyses).
- To grant researchers access to High Performance Computing
(HPC) machines without having to learn esoteric Unix commands to run research.
- To reduce the time taken to run computing intensive problems.