Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

eScience & Technical Computing - Web Services and Scientific Research

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    The BioTeam Delivers Informatics Solution on Microsoft CCS


    This is great news for the Bio researchers...info 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: http://www.ecma-international.org/news/PressReleases/PR_TC45_Dec2006.htm


    I'm looking forward to all the smaller companies (like the folks participating up on openxmldeveloper.org) 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 (http://docx-converter.com). There is the open source project up on sourceforge for converting from Open XML to ODF and back (http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/). 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 (hash@adatum.com) 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

    Books.Live.com is Live


    I finally had sometime to check out Books.live.com 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 http://research.microsoft.com/fsharp/release.aspx

    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 available...as 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 problem...it’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

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Available for Download


    Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is available for download - to understand how WSS and MOSS (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007) are related check out this link - http://www.microsoft.com/sharepoint/overview.mspx

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    HPC Leaders Demonstrate Interoperability Using OGF Specs


    Saw this demo while at SC06 today - this is great news for folks looking to use HPC clusters.

    The Open Grid Forum (OGF) announced its interoperability demonstration at the Supercomputing 2006 (SC06) conference showing the work being done towards interoperable high performance computing (HPC). Organizations participating in the demonstration include Altair Engineering, CROWN, EGEE, Fujitsu Labs of Europe, Genesis II, Globus Alliance, HP, Microsoft, OMII-UK, Platform Computing, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and University of Virginia. These participants are exhibiting their prototype implementations of OGF standards and draft specifications used to enable heterogeneous integration of HPC Grid solutions.
    The demonstration involves compute clusters processing various HPC applications submitted via OGF's Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSATM) HPC Profile draft specification, which leverages common Web Services specifications and existing OGF standards. The use of widely adopted Web Services and OGF specifications enables the interoperable interaction between different HPC middleware platforms.

    Source: HPC Leaders Demonstrate Interoperability Using OGF Specs

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Behind the scene w/ Murray Sargent: Math in Office : LineServices


    I love hearing the behind the scene action - as Paul Harvey used to say - And now, the rest of the story...from Murray Sargent's Blog....

    One of the key technologies behind the high quality display of mathematical text in Word 2007 and RichEdit 6.0 is a special component called LineServices along with its sibling Page/TableServices. In addition to handling math display, various versions of LineServices are responsible for line layout in Word, Publisher, RichEdit, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, FrontPage, Visio, and Vista. It was developed by one of the most amazing teams at Microsoft. Because LineServices is used by components like RichEdit and Vista controls, it’s indirectly available to developers outside Microsoft. The low-level interfaces to run it directly are tricky to use and in general aren’t documented very completely. Microsoft developers who use LineServices generally consult with the LineServices team.

    This post tells some of how LineServices came to be and developed over time.

    Source: Murray Sargent: Math in Office : LineServices

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    SharePoint: Cross-browser authoring


    How timely this post is...at SC06 I was just having a discussion with someone (who would like to remain nameless) about this very topic...John, that's 1 down :-)

    Cross-browser authoring

    One of the most popular blog entries was the web browser compatibility one where folks were very vocal about the lack of authoring support on non-IE browsers. I'm proud to say that Telerik is announcing that they will support cross-browser authoring with an integrated rich text editor that will be available for all customers licensed for Office SharePoint Server at no additional cost. According to Telerik, you can use the rich text editor in the following scenarios:
      • rich-text filed control in SharePoint forms (in Lists, etc.) 
      • rich-text editor WebPart 
      • Web Content Management scenario

    You can read more about it in the press release.

    They are going to launch a limited beta program in early December and plan to release final bits by end of calendar year. There should be a nomination form linked from http://www.telerik.com/sharepoint shortly.

    Arpan Shah

    Source: Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies Team Blog : Cross-browser authoring

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Sim Water at UC Berkeley using OLAP cubes


    I really like to see this collaboration between the researchers at UC Berkeley and Catharine van Ingen from MSR's eScience group - they are using data mining and cubes to help with the scientific research.  This is really neat stuff...

    Environmental science has enjoyed an explosion in data collection and storage, thanks to ever-improving sensors and computer hardware. But real-world data can be mess and sensors in the field can always be hit by birds or otherwise made to give false readings. The problems compound when data comes in different formats from multiple sources. Digital Watershed is a watershed event for the field, an unprecedented collaboration that will bring all the water data together.
    Full story and photos: http://www.coe.berkeley.edu/labnotes/1106/vaningen.html

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    MSR Synthetic-Biology Request for Proposals


    Here is the next RFP from MSR - this one is on Synthetic-Biology and is open worldwide.  See the RFP for more details:

    Synthetic-Biology Request for Proposals
    Microsoft Research launched a $500,000 request for proposals in synthetic biology Nov. 4. Synthetic biology lies at a junction between engineering and biology, and Microsoft is accepting proposals to address related computational challenges.

    Synthetic Biology lies at a junction between engineering and biology. Much of modern biology is based on three breakthroughs: (1) understanding the structure and operation of DNA, (2) manipulating DNA with restriction enzymes and the Polymerase Chain Reaction, and (3) understanding the genome through DNA sequencing. Synthetic Biology is based on three new developments: (1) direct synthesis of DNA, (2) abstraction of biological function, and (3) the growth of an industry of standard biological parts. Long-term research goals include how to best design and build engineered biological systems and to promote the open and transparent development of tools for engineering biology. Long-term social goals include enabling new industries based on the rational engineering of biological systems and materials, and constructing a society that can productively apply biological technology.

    Source: Microsoft Research Home

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Data Mining for the rest of us...


    If you've ever been interested in using datamining tools - but don't have the time to figure out how it all works...take a look at these add-ins for the Excel2007.  With the data in a spreadsheet - you can kick off an analysis.

    I can see this a great way to clean and analyze data...especially scientific data.

    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

    3D maps w/ Local.live.com - very cool


    I just ran across the 3D support they've added to the maps on local.live and it is amazing...especially w/ cities like Seattle & Boston...

    About 3D maps

    View 3D perspectives of land and cities using the mouse, keyboard, or an Xbox 360 Controller for Windows.

    With the navigation control you can view cities and streets from different heights and angles. Latitude, longitude, and altitude appear in the lower-left status bar of the browser window. A scale bar in the lower-right corner of the map indicates the distance from your viewing point to the objects below you.

    Link to Live Search

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Novell and MS - OpenXML in OpenOffice


    This is great to hear - this will allow folks not using Office to have access to scientific info/data that could be include in documents...

    Office Open XML


    • Novell engineers have been working for the last year together with Microsoft engineers through the ECMA TC45 working group in producing a complete specification that would allow for interoperability across office suites.
    • Novell will develop the code necessary to bring support for Office Open XML into OpenOffice, and we will contribute that support back to the OpenOffice.org organization. We will also distribute the Office Open XML plug-in in our own edition of OpenOffice. In addition, we will participate in the Open XML Translator open source project.
  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    industryStream - For Health and Life Sciences


    Thought some folks in the Health and Life Sciences field might find these talks interesting.

    The Microsoft Developer & Platform Developer Evangelism Team is proud to announce industryStream, the premier technical program for developers. industryStream provides a constant flow of technical information with a focus on the Health and Life Sciences industry, as well as, networking opportunities for enterprise, partners.


    Newly launched in the Fall of 2006, this series runs every other Tuesday from 1pm to 2.30pm Eastern Standard Time. Make these your must-see source of the latest technology trends and solutions in health and life sciences. Our regulars include product managers from Redmond, as well as industry gurus within Microsoft discussing best of class Microsoft solutions for the health and life sciences industry.

    Source: Ashish Jaiman's Blog : industryStream - FOR HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    New drop of XNA available


    There is new drop of Game Studio Express (Beta 2) - I'm still interested in seeing how XNA could be used for scientific visualizations.  Also an updated XNA FAQ...

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Microsoft Enhances Interoperability With Open Virtualization Format: virtualization format software freely available to all.


     From the Microsoft Interoperability Web site -

    Microsoft Enhances Interoperability With Open Virtualization Format

    BRUSSELS, Belgium — Oct. 17, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced at the Interoperability Summit in Brussels that its virtualization format technology will now be available under its Open Specification Promise (OSP), an irrevocable promise from Microsoft to every individual and organization in the world to make use of this patented technology for free, now and forever when implementing specified open standards. Microsoft first announced the availability of an OSP for Web services specifications in September 2006 and now is expanding its customer-focused commitment to interoperability by applying the OSP to Microsoft’s Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) Image Format specification.

    Source: Microsoft Enhances Interoperability With Open Virtualization Format: Irrevocable promise will make Microsoft’s virtualization format software freely available to all.

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    SQL Server Hosting Toolkit... Launched !


    It would be interesting to see someone test out the SQL Server Hosting Toolkit for publishing their scientific data - imagine capturing it locally and then publishing it to a Science SQL hosting service, so all the other researchers in your space could test out their algorithms on your datasets.

    Details on the Database Publishing Wizard as well as the download can be found at http://www.codeplex.com/Wiki/View.aspx?ProjectName=sqlhost&title=Database%20Publishing%20Wizard.
    Future plans for the Hosting Toolkit can be found at http://www.codeplex.com/Wiki/View.aspx?ProjectName=sqlhost&title=Project%20Roadmap

    From Laurent Bonnet [MS France] blog:

    Very interesting addtion for web hosters who want to simplify their customers procedures on Shared or Dedicated hosted solutions using ASP.Net 2.0 and SQL Server 2005: Microsoft has just launched the SQL Server Hosting Toolkit with the release of the Database Publishing Wizard Community Technology Preview 1.
    The objective of the SQL Server Hosting Toolkit is to enable a great experience around hosted SQL Server.  The Database Publishing Wizard works toward this mission by making it easy to upload a database from a development box up to a shared hoster.  In its first incarnation, the Database Publishing Wizard is a command line tool that generates a T-SQL script designed to be executed in the script execution windows provided by most hosters in their database management consoles.
    In the coming months, Microsoft will be adding a GUI, integrate it into Visual Studio, and enable seamless deployment from the tool to an upload service hosters will be able to deploy.

    Source: Web Hosting, French Way - by Laurent Bonnet [MS France] : SQL Server Hosting Toolkit... Launched !

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Managed MPI Wrapper


    Saw this on Developer Blog - it would be great to see the managed MPI wrapper....

    Managed MPI Wrapper

    MPI is a widely used programming interface to develop parallel applications. .Net is also the one of the most popular framework used in Windows Platform. How can we develop a MPI application under the .Net framework?

    Here is the answer: Managed MPI Wrapper.

    The basic idea for this framework is wrapper the MPI APIs into a simple managed library. The developer can benefit from both the productivity features of .Net and the maturity of MPI APIs. Currently, I am working on creating a prototyping.

    Source: Developer Blog : Managed MPI Wrapper

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Port 25 : Developer Resources for Open Source Software on Vista


     Opportunity for folks to give the Port 25 folks some feedback....

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006 9:10 AM by MichaelF

    Recently we posted about http://www.devreadiness.com, an online resource for Vista Application Compatibility questions/guidance.  After posting we received some feedback that with some changes they could become much more useful for Open Source Developers.  Based on this feedback we are going to create a set of resources specifically tailored for the open source developer/ISV. 

    This is where we would like some help.  We can move forward with this based on our understanding and assumptions or we can involve our community and ensure that the “right” changes are being made.  To this end we are seeking a small group of volunteers who would be willing to act as a review/guidance team.  This endeavor should not be tremendously time consuming.  We anticipate a single review/feedback cycle of existing content to get us started.  After an initial pass we will request one to two more review cycles to ensure we are on the right path.

    Source: Port 25 : Developer Resources for Open Source Software on Vista

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    GridFTP and GRAM for the .NET Framework


     Marty Humphrey and his team have released an .NET implementation of many of the popular services provided by the Globus Toolkit.

    Globus Interoperability for the .NET Platform

    This site provides client and server implementations of two of the most popular services provided by the Globus Toolkit. The Globus Toolkit v. 4 (GT4) implementation of GridFTP, a data transfer protocol, and GRAM, a job execution protocol, are widely deployed in many scientific grids. We present implementations of both GridFTP and GRAM, services and clients, that run on the Microsoft .NET Framework and are interoperable with their GT4 counterparts.

    Source: GridFTP and GRAM for the .NET Framework

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