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February 17th, 2010
Doing science on the hub
It all began with a web infrastructure called PUNCH, which was developed in 1995 at Purdue University in order to deploy simple science gateways. Scientists could use PUNCH to create a web form that, when filled out and submitted, would run batch jobs.
At the time, this was pretty revolutionary. But by 2002, it was time for an update. So they began work on the now well-known nanotechnology resource, nanoHUB.org.
"They wanted to take that PUNCH infrastructure and apply it in the nanotechnology realm, to bring a lot of different simulation tools together," explained Michael McLennan, the project director for HUBzero. "What we were looking for when I joined the project [in 2004] was to kind of reinvent the infrastructure to be much more Web 2.0."
The new nanoHUB.org had built-in visualization and graphics capabilities, and connected to larger grid and parallel computing infrastructures such as TeraGrid and Open Science Grid. It was also designed to enable researchers to help each other by sharing tools, seminars, and questions and answers in a community setting.
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