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Harvard IIC

Harvard IIC
Science + Computing = Innovation

The Harvard Initiative in Innovative Computing (IIC) brings scientists together from multiple disciplines to work with their peers in computer science to discover new approaches for solving disparate problems with common threads.
The Connectome
To gain a better understanding of mammalian neural circuitry, researchers create a wiring diagram of brain tissue with slices of very high-resolution electronic microscope images which are merged to create a 3D volume. Each image in these multi-Terabyte datasets contains 1014 voxels of information stored in multi-100GB images. Along with the traditional science implications of this study, the Connectome project will study the computational challenges of processing and visualizing massive datasets.
Data-Intensive Science and High-Capacity Scientific Databases
Technology has delivered unprecedented quantities of data to scientists which can be used to better understand the structure of the early universe. The IIC’s scientists are finding new ways to deal with these massive datasets by leveraging multiple computing models including new methods for loosely coupled problems suitable for grid computing, tightly coupled problems not suitable for clusters, and problems which are dependent on massive data storage.
Genepattern and the Virtual Data Center (VDC)
The similarities in statistical analysis of biomedical and social science research have led the IIC to examine the cross-discipline applicability of software design for each field. Scientists are working to combine the capabilities of the Zelig statistical framework for Social Sciences and GenePattern — a genomics analysis application, as a first step to supporting a pipeline of tools and data that will bridge multiple disciplines.
National Virtual Observatory Portal
A Google-like middleware layer connecting archives of Astronomy data including images, spectra, data catalogs and journal catalogs could someday make the possibility of doing “Astronomy by database” a reality. Researchers are building on existing National Virtual Observatory (NVO) tools to unify currently available — but difficult to access data — into an intuitive graphical entry point.
Goodman says, “I’d say 95% of the people most directly involved with Harvard IIC choose Mac as their primary platform. It is funny; if you walk in here, you would think we were sponsored by Apple.”
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