Canadian Governor General Observes New Web-Based Research Link Between Brazilian and Canadian Synchrotrons

Publicado em 02/05/2012

University of Saskatchewan, em 28/04/2012

Use of advanced internet technology to bring scientists and leading-edge research infrastructure together half a world apart was demonstrated today between the national synchrotron facilities of Canada and Brazil.

The demonstration in Brazil, observed by Canadian Governor General David Johnston and Dr. Antônio José Roque da Silva, Director of the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS), made use of remote control software developed at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron in Saskatoon to access a CLS beamline and collect data from a computer at a research station in the LNLS.

The experiment was initiated from Brazil by Peter MacKinnon, president of the University of Saskatchewan which is home to the CLS. The demonstration involved accessing the VESPERS beamline at the CLS from a computer at the LNLS and taking a series of scans of a tissue sample of Crohn’s Disease, including starting the experimental scans and receiving the resulting data.

“This is an amazing example of the new opportunities for research and collaboration available to scientists and graduate students both in Canada and Brazil thanks to this innovative technology developed at the CLS,” said MacKinnon. “It provides a powerful way for researchers at Canadian universities such as the University of Saskatchewan to exchange ideas and information in real time with colleagues around the world, thereby maximizing public investment in science facilities like the CLS.”

Another demonstration had Canadian and Argentinian researchers performing an experiment at the LNLS using LabWeb, the Brazilian remote access project that uses the new CLS-developed technology. In the same way, scientists located in their lab or office at a university in Brazil, for example, can access the CLS to run experiments directly or collaborate with Canadian researchers and students.

“This project opens a new frontier in scientific research since scientists can perform experiments from anywhere in the world, not only at the place where the laboratory is located,” points out Roque. “This is indeed the concrete realization of the concept of cooperation. From now on, researchers from Canada, Brazil and other countries will be able to exchange their expertise and knowledge working together in real time. This is a big step to improve the collaborative science.”

The CLS software innovation, funded by Canada’s CANARIE Network Enabled Program, has led to a suite of web-based applications called ScienceStudio that involves the University of Western Ontario, Concordia University, and IBM Canada.

“ScienceStudio is the result of the kind of innovation that can happen when partners from major science facilities, universities and industries work together,” notes CLS Executive Director Josef Hormes. “The Canadian Light Source and the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory are collaborating on a number of exciting projects that will benefit both of our country’s scientific communities.”

Using ScienceStudio, research groups can securely access and run experiments at ‘big science’ research facilities such as the CLS, collect data, collaborate on data analysis and interpretation of results, and schedule additional experiments. Currently, ScienceStudio is in use on a beamline at the CLS, the Nanofabrication Facility at the University of Western Ontario, and the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley, California, as well as at the LNLS and Cenpes/Petrobras, an associated research centre in Brazil.

ScienceStudio and LabWeb are examples of joint projects undertaken by the two synchrotrons as the result of a memorandum of understanding signed in 2008. Another example is the collaborative development of the Brockhouse X-ray Diffraction and Scattering Sector beamlines at the CLS.

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About the CLS: The Canadian Light Source is Canada’s national centre for synchrotron research and is a global leader and a recognized centre of excellence in synchrotron science and its applications. Located on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon, the CLS has hosted 2600 researchers from academic institutions, government, and industry from across Canada and 20 countries on over 5,200 user visits, delivering over 15,000 experimental shifts to users since 2005. CLS operations are funded by Western Economic Diversification Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, National Research Council of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Government of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan. www.lightsource.ca/media/quickfacts.php.

About LNLS: The Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory, in Campinas, Brazil, is funded by the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI). It is the only Synchrotron Light Source in Latin America with 16 operating beamlines that use X-rays and ultraviolet rays in studies of organic and inorganic materials. Designed and built using Brazilian technology, LNLS was inaugurated in 1997 as a facility open to scientific and business communities across the country. In 2011 it hosted about 1700 Brazilian and foreign researchers who conducted over 500 studies that resulted in 250 articles published in scientific journals. Moreover, about 20 percent of these studies are proposed by foreigners. The laboratory has also been a partner for national projects in energy, chemicals and pharmaceuticals areas, among others. For more information: www.lnls.br.

Note to editors:

A webcast of the demonstration is available at http://video-sciencestudio.lightsource.ca and a backgrounder is available at www.lightsource.ca/media/backgrounder_20120428.php.

A photo of Elder Matias who led the CLS software development team and University of Saskatchewan Ph.D. student Dong Liu is available upon request.

For more information contact:

Matthew Dalzell
Communications Coordinator
Canadian Light Source Inc
+1(306) 657-3739 Cell: +1(306) 227-0978
matthew.dalzell@lightsource.ca

Claudia Izique
Communications Coordinator
Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Material (CNPEM)
Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS)
(19) 3512 1173/1250
claudia.izique@abtlus.org.br

Michael Robin
Research Communications
University of Saskatchewan
+1 (306) 966-1425
Cell: 1 (306) 251-0847
michael.robin@usask.ca

New Remote Access Technology Developed at Canadian Light Source

ScienceStudio is a suite of web-based applications that is the first of its kind. It was developed by the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Western Ontario, Concordia University, and IBM Canada, with funding from the CANARIE Network Enabled Platforms Program. It makes use of secure, high-capacity research networks such as Canada’s CaNet4 to access and run experiments at ‘big science’ research facilities such as the CLS.

ScienceStudio is built on Web 2.0 technology. Scientists can collect data, collaborate on data analysis and interpretation of results, and schedule additional experiments, all from their home institutions. ScienceStudio also integrates high-performance computing resources (such as SharcNet at UWO) to process data in real-time. Currently, ScienceStudio is in use on the VESPERS beamline at the CLS, the Nanofabrication Facility at the University of Western Ontario, and the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley, California, as well as at the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory and Cenpes/Petrobras, an associated research centre in Brazil.

ScienceStudio is a made-in-Canada innovation that enables researchers from around the world to collaborate, exchange ideas, and access world-leading research facilities.

Why is ScienceStudio needed?

Huge investments have been made over the last decade by countries all over the world in advanced scientific resources such as synchrotrons and neutron sources. Many of these facilities offer capabilities to researchers that are not available anywhere else. While most of these facilities are open to users from around the world, competition for research time at these facilities is steep. Travel time and costs can be a barrier for some researchers. Processing and analyzing the sheer volume of data produced by experiments can also be a challenge.

Remote access to a facility helps to maximize the use of these valuable facilities, while reducing the time and costs incurred by researchers having to travel. Systems like ScienceStudio make it possible for groups of researchers to work together online and collaborate with scientists or students at the facility, regardless of the researchers’ physical locations. A professor can supervise from his or her home the work of a graduate student running an experiment at the CLS.

Data is collected in real-time and can be transferred to high-performance computing resources for analysis. Results can be shared and studied by the entire research group and the course of an experiment can be altered or additional tests scheduled as needed, making the most of scientists’ research time. Finally, since ScienceStudio provides a standard interface, researchers can minimize the amount of time required to learn to use the often unique control software in use at each facility or beamline. Only a web-browser and broadband internet connection is needed.

Are remote access systems like ScienceStudio secure?

Safety of the system from hackers and the security of experimental data have been key drivers behind the software’s development. While ScienceStudio appears as part of a user’s web browser, this is only the front end of a very secure system functioning on encrypted and sometimes dedicated high-speed fibre optic research networks called ‘lightpaths.’ Such networks are isolated from the larger World Wide Web. Users must still be registered with the science facility where they are running their experiment, and access to ScienceStudio can be configured to allow different levels of access to members of a research group. ScienceStudio talks to, but does not supplant, the control software in use at the beamline or other facility, and can only operate within parameters specified by that facility.

For more information:

ScienceStudio demonstration webcast

Science Studio @ YouTube

ScienceStudio @ CLS

ScienceStudio backgrounder @ University of Western Ontario

ScienceStudio and CANARIE

Matthew Dalzell
Communications Coordinator
Canadian Light Source Inc
+1 (306) 657-3739 Cell: +1 (306) 227-0978
matthew.dalzell@lightsource.ca

Michael Robin
Research Communications
University of Saskatchewan
+1 (306) 966-1425
michael.robin@usask.ca

Repercussões: Lightsources.org, Global Saskatoon, Newswise, CTV News/Saskatoon

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