eScience – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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Niels Bohr Institute > Research > eScience



eScience deals with scientific work method, where the computer is the central component. This will typically involve research with enormous amounts of data or computer simulations of experiments or observations.

Computer science and mathematics are the basis of the group’s work, which aims in part to build the physical machines and partly to develop software for calculations. eScience is used when you are trying to get an imaging of something that happens very quickly (i.e. explosions, solar storms), very slowly (i.e. the evolution of the universe), is dangerous to carry out (i.e. develop new CT scanners) or is unethical (i.e. using people for medical projects). What you do then, is make computer simulations on the basis of observations or experiments to create an imaging of the process. That way you can compare the actual observations with the simulations and understand the details of the process.

There is such a colossal amount of measurement data from the experiments at CERN that even when the researchers have sorted out the vast majority of the data because it is uninteresting, there is still more than 16*1015 of data remaining – the equivalent of 4 million DVD's (there are 4,7 gigabytes in a DVD), and this would give you a stack of DVDs 4 kilometers high! All this data must be saved and you need a software programme that can simulate a pattern so you can find what you’re looking for, for example, the Higgs particle.

Much of the group’s work is external collaboration with industry in connection with, for example, drug development or image collection. In connection with the new research facility, ESS, being built in Lund, eScience is used to simulate the research facilities and what you want them to be able to do.

eScience is becoming more and more indispensible. Every 2 years, the amount of scientific data in the world doubles. No one can cope with that much, so everything must be saved and you have to be able to pull information out of the data and eScience is therefore an integral part of many research projects.