From 14 to 16 March 2011, ACGT partners, CSIR and the University of Pretoria (UP) hosted a workshop introducing Taverna – an open-source scientific workflow management system.
Held at the CSIR Knowledge Commons, the workshop presenter was one of the developers of Taverna, Dr Peter Li of the Bioinformatics Department at the University of Birmingham (previously University of Manchester). Both the hosting of the workshop and Dr Li’s participation were successful outcomes of an NRF-funded UK-SA bilateral visit by Prof Jane Morris to the University of Manchester in May 2010.
The workshop featured an introductory talk, a question and answer session, and a software demonstration – all of which were streamed live to the broader scientific community. Among those who were in attendance were representatives from Mintek, CSIR, UP, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), POL SABINA and the ACGT management office.
The event included presentations around Taverna – a suite of tools used to design and execute scientific workflows and aid in silico experimentation – and tools such as myExperiment and BioCatalogue, and their use in scientific domains such as biology and chemistry.
The open-source and domain independent Taverna suite is well-suited for use in resource-strapped environments. It was developed to allow for the automation of experimental methods using different (local or remote) services from a diverse set of domains. As such, it enables a scientist with limited computing background, resources and support to construct highly complex analyses by tapping into the resources of a number of institutes, hundreds of analysis applications and literally thousands of CPUs worth of computational power. What’s more, all of this is possible from a standard PC, UNIX box or Apple computer.
The links to the workshop presentation, Q & A session and software demo are as follows-