December, 2006

Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

eScience & Technical Computing - Web Services and Scientific Research

December, 2006

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Wikipedia Explorer beta


    I saw this post about the Wikipedia Explorer using WPF on Steve Claytons blog - it's really easy to use - I like the network mode - seeing all the relevant links - I also like how it adds columns to the page as you maximize the window...I see this as a model for how sceintific data/papers should be viewed.

    "Using the latest WPF technologies, Dot Net Solutions has crafted an application to browse Wikipedia which we have dubbed Wikipedia Explorer. Compared to the standard text only view of articles, Wikipedia Explorer deals with and displays the relationships between the articles.
    With the display of the data, the application allows 3 forms of view. An initial Document layout displays the article's content as it would be displayed in Wikipedia itself. The real value of the application however, is in the extra 3DExplorer and Network view modes.

    Within the 3DExplorer mode, the main article is displayed in the centre of the screen with all linked articles shown around in a helix structure for quick navigation. Scrolling through the articles is as easy as scrolling with your mouse wheel."

    What you get is a VERY powerful visualization of the flat by hypertexted Wikpedia. The 3D explorer is funky but the Network mode is just awesome. Put in a search term, switch to Network mode and watch the app build out the web of links before your very eyes. I think Tim has done a stunning job here but you can check for yourself as Wikipedia Explorer can be run as a ClickOnce application (note that you do need to install the .NET 3.0 redistributable package)

    Source: Steve Clayton: Geek In Disguise : Wikipedia Explorer beta

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    SQL Server Data Mining Add-ins for Office 2007 CTP


    So glad to see the CTP of Data Mining Add-ins available - I see this is as Data Mining for the rest of us...

    Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Data Mining Add-ins for Office 2007 (Data Mining Add-ins) allow you take advantage of SQL Server 2005 predictive analytics in Office Excel 2007 and Office Visio 2007. The download includes the following components:

    • Table Analysis Tools for Excel: This add-in provides you with easy-to-use tasks that leverage SQL Server 2005 Data Mining under the covers to perform powerful analytics on your spreadsheet data.
    • Data Mining Client for Excel: This add-in allows you to go through the full data mining model development lifecycle within Excel 2007 using either your spreadsheet data or external data accessible through your SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services instance.
    • Data Mining Templates for Visio: This add-in allows you to render and share your mining models as annotatable Visio 2007 drawings.

    Source: Download details: SQL Server Data Mining Add-ins for Office 2007 CTP

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    The BioTeam Delivers Informatics Solution on Microsoft CCS


    This is great news for the Bio at iNquiry Bioinformatics Portal for Microsoft Compute Cluster Server - they also mention the "The Scientific Desktop"

    "The scientific desktop" aims to build a bridge between common computing tools and everyday scientific computing tasks. One example is an Excel add-in that enables researchers to launch Blast queries directly from Excel and then get results back into their spreadsheet application.

    HPCWire: The BioTeam Delivers Informatics Solution on Microsoft CCS

    The BioTeam, a consulting collective that delivers informatics solutions to the life science industry, has announced that it is releasing their iNquiry software on the Microsoft's new Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003.

    The challenge is many informatics problems are data-intensive and require high computational power to solve. However, the individuals who work on these problems are not always experts in scalable computing. Science departments and other groups that are getting into high performance computing for the first time need a platform that is powerful but easy to use, and cost effective. The installation, customization and ongoing support of a scalable commodity cluster have traditionally presented a formidable challenge to busy scientists, and limited budgets.

    BioTeam's iNquiry software platform enables the rapid deployment of a ready-to-use cluster and web portal for use in life science informatics settings. It comes preconfigured with many open source scientific applications and can be extended to support additional commercial, open-source or internally developed applications.

    Microsoft Windows Compute Cluster Server (CCS) 2003 is a new HPC operating system specifically designed for group and departmental-level deployment.

    "Windows Computer Cluster Server 2003 has everything needed to quickly deploy a Windows-based cluster," said Michael Athanas, founding partner of The BioTeam. "The combination of Microsoft's product and iNquiry will be a solid and compelling compute solution platform for researchers and scientists."

    Source: The BioTeam Delivers Informatics Solution on Microsoft CCS

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Open XML Formats : Ecma Standard 376 – Office Open XML formats


    Great info from Brian Jones on the Open XML standards as well interop solutions.

    Ecma Standard 376 – Office Open XML formats

    It's finally official. Today the Ecma General Assembly voted almost unanimously to approve the Office Open XML formats as an official Ecma standard. They also voted to submit the standard to ISO for fast track certification. The official press release from Ecma International can be found here:


    I'm looking forward to all the smaller companies (like the folks participating up on that take advantage of this interoperable format as a building block for rich solutions that create and consume documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other document types we haven't thought of yet. There are simple tools out there like the docx converter ( There is the open source project up on sourceforge for converting from Open XML to ODF and back ( There is even the MindManager tool that converts mind maps into wordprocessing documents. The possibility are infinite… who knows how long it will be before we even see things like rich spreadsheetML files with branding, charting, pivot tables, etc. being output directly from hardware devices (like medical imaging equipment) rather than a basic CSV file.

    Source: Brian Jones: Open XML Formats : Ecma Standard 376 – Office Open XML formats

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    DigiPede talk on Concurrent SW Dev at .NET Dev Event Redmond


    I just found out that on Monday, Dec 11, Kim Greenlee from Digipede will be presenting a technical talk on Concurrent Software Development at the next .NET Developers Association meeting in Redmond.

    The meeting is at 7pm in Bldg 40, Steptoe Room on the Microsoft Campus.

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Mundie: Science as a Web Service


    I realized I forgot to post about Craig Mundie's article in the March/April Technology Review -

    Science as a Web Service

    XML can supercharge research.


    XML is also one of the enabling technologies for grid computing and Web services, which will revolutionize the scientific community in the coming decade by enabling the free exchange of information across distributed systems. Remote computation will be directly accessible from any desktop, and sensors and instruments will have their own Internet addresses.

    The immediate challenge for the scientific and engineering community is to take advantage of available data management and data analysis tools. The larger and longer-term challenge is for the leaders in academic research to leverage software and Web services technologies to standardize the way they present and track their data.

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Shibboleth and ADFS Interoperability &ndash; this is now a reality!


    Glad to see this use fo the Shibboleth ADFS Integration: An extension allowing a Shibboleth 1.3 IdP to integrate with Microsoft's Active Directory Federation Service. 

    Shibboleth and ADFS Interoperability – this is now a reality!

    Last week, the efforts of Microsoft, the JISC, London School of Economics, Neath Port Talbot and Oxford Computer Group delivered proof of the interoperability between Shibboleth and Microsoft's ADFS. Of course, this has been theorietically possible for nearly a year now but it doesn't seem that anyone has actually proved it. So, I'm really pleased to see that this breakthrough occurred through the collaboration of these different organisations in the UK to demonstrate the potential that ADFS can offer to those many customers in education wishing to have interoperability with Shibboleth.

    During the Proof of Concept we were able to demonstrate the following:

    1. An ADFS FS-A talking to a Shibboleth SP
    2. A Shibboleth IdP talking to an ADFS FS-R
    3. The ability to send a "privacy-enhanced" UPN ( into the TargetedID attribute.
    4. The ability to manipulate other attributes/claims as we need to – although we haven't necessarily gone as far with this as we could

    Source: Dominic : Shibboleth and ADFS Interoperability – this is now a reality!

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft is Live


    I finally had sometime to check out and it is wild - there are tons texts to look at...very interesting....

    A couple of books I found - The Life of Columbus in Pictures and I especially like this inscription from the "Orators of the American Revolution"


    Students who are not Drones,

    Christians who are not Bigots,


    Citizens who are not Demagoues,

    Link to Live Search Books: Orators of the American Revolution

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    F# 1.1.13 now available


     Don Syme annouced a new drop of F# - I especially like these samples:

    • New LAPACK sample.. See samples\fsharp\math\LAPACK
    • New WPF sample for use with F# Interactive. See samples\fsharp\WPF

    F# 1.1.13 now available!

    I’m pleased to announce that F# 1.1.13 is now available! You can download this release from

    This is an exciting release, containing many important enhancements to the language that make F# programming simpler, more powerful and easier to explain and understand. We’re particularly pleased with comprehensions, which, although found in other languages, works beautifully in conjunction with other F# language features such as pattern matching. These also simplify the use of many .NET APIs and collection types.  We've also included named arguments, C# 3.0-style property setters and a host of improvements to the F# library, as well as a good number of bug fixes based on feedback from our rapidly expanding user base.

    Source: Don Syme's WebLog on F# and Other Research Projects : F# 1.1.13 now available!

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    WPF/E(codename) CTP available for download


    Just downloaded and tried out the December CTP of WPF/E (codename) and it is very smooth - it will be interesting to see how it can apply to scientific research projects.

    Both the Windows and Mac CTP's are well as SDK and docs

    "WPF/E” is compatible with Internet Explorer 6.0 and 7.0 and also with Mozilla Firefox and 2.0.

    What is "WPF/E"

    "WPF/E" is a codename for a new web presentation technology that is created to run on a variety of platforms. It enables the creation of rich, visually stunning, and interactive experiences that can run everywhere: within browsers, and on multiple devices and desktop operating systems (such as the Apple Macintosh). It is consistent with WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), which is the presentation technology in .NET 3.0 (the Windows programming infrastructure), and XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language), which is the foundation of the "WPF/E" presentation capability.

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Windows Live Search Beta for mobile


    WLS mobile really puts the power of searching and finding info into your hand - I especially use it when travelling to find locations (restaurnats, etc), but also to see the local traffic...smile_teeth

    The great part is that it not only run on Windows Mobile devices...but will run on other popular cellphones

    What it is
    Windows Live Search Beta for mobile devices brings the power of Windows Live Local Search to your cell phone. Now you can get the answers you need no matter where you are. Need to find the nearest pizza place? Directions to a friend’s house? Check traffic en route to the office? No’s all there.

    What it can do for you
    The Windows Live Search Beta for mobile application gives you fast access to local search and maps, driving directions, and even local traffic information. When you get your search results, you can click to call the phone number of the place you found, or even look at a satellite photo (on some phones) to find the best parking nearby!
    Service requires a J2ME-capable or Windows Mobile phone and a data plan for use...the service itself is free, but your carrier may charge you for data usage.

    Source: Windows Live Search Beta for mobile

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