The most common means of remote scientific collaboration today includes the trio of e-mail for electronic communication, FTP for file sharing, and personalized Web sites for dissemination of papers and research results. With the growth of broadband Internet, there has been a desire to share large files (movies, files, scientific data files) over the Internet. Email has limits on the size of files that can be attached and transmitted. FTP is often used to share large files, but this requires the user to set up an FTP site for which it is hard to set group privileges, it is not straightforward for everyone, and the content is not searchable.
Peer-to-peer technology (P2P), which has been overwhelmingly successful in popular content distribution, is the basis for development of a scientific collaboratory called Scientific Peer Network (SciPerNet). This technology combines social networking with P2P file sharing. SciPerNet will be a standalone application, written in Java and Swing, thus insuring portability to a number of different platforms. Some of the features include user authentication, search capability, seamless integration with a data center, the ability to create groups and social networks, and on-line chat.
In contrast to P2P networks such as Gnutella, Bit Torrent, and others, SciPerNet incorporates three design elements that are critical to application of P2P for scientific purposes:
• User authentication,
• Data integrity validation,
• Reliable searching
SciPerNet also provides a complementary solution to virtual observatories by enabling distributed collaboration and sharing of downloaded and/or processed data among scientists. This will, in turn, increase scientific returns from NASA missions. As such, SciPerNet can serve a twofold purpose for NASA: a cost-savings software as well as a productivity tool for scientists working with data from NASA missions.
This work was done by Homa Karimabadi of SciberQuest, Inc. for Goddard Space Flight Center. For further information, contact the Goddard Innovative Partnerships Office at (301) 286-5810. GSC-15396-1