Search, adapt, and reuse: the future of scientific workflows

Sarah Cohen-Boulakia 1, 2 Ulf Leser 3
2 AMIB - Algorithms and Models for Integrative Biology
LIX - Laboratoire d'informatique de l'École polytechnique [Palaiseau], LRI - Laboratoire de Recherche en Informatique, UP11 - Université Paris-Sud - Paris 11, Inria Saclay - Ile de France
Abstract : Over the last years, a number of scientific workflow management systems (SciWFM) have been brought to a state of maturity that should permit their usage in a production-style environment. This is especially true for the Life Sciences, but SciWFM also attract con-siderable attention in fields like geophysics or climate research. These developments, accompanied by the growing availability of analytical tools wrapped as (web) services, were driven by a series of very interesting promises: End users will be empowered to develop their own pipelines; reuse of services will be enhanced by easier integration into custom workflows; time necessary for developing analysis pipelines will decrease; etc. But despite all efforts, SciWFM have not yet found widespread acceptance in their intended audience. In this paper, we argue that a wider adoption of SciWFM will only be achieved if the focus of research and development is shifted from methods for developing and running work¬flows to searching, adapting, and reusing existing workflows. Only by this shift can SciWFM outreach to the mass of domain scientists actually performing scientific analysis - and with little interest in developing them themselves. To this end, SciWFM need to be combined with community-wide workflow repositories allowing users to find solutions for their scientific needs (coded as a work¬flow). In this vision paper, we show how and where such developments have already started and highlight new research questions arising.
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Sarah Cohen-Boulakia, Ulf Leser. Search, adapt, and reuse: the future of scientific workflows. SIGMOD record, ACM, 2011, ⟨10.1145/2034863.2034865⟩. ⟨inria-00638043⟩

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