Tuesday, August 16, 2011

DOE at Work on Scientific 'Knowledgebase'

Internet Evolution (08/08/11) Ariella Brown

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently completed the research and development phase of the Systems Biology Knowledgebase (Kbase) project, which aims to make plant and microbial life data more accessible for scientific sharing and integration. Kbase will be useful to those who want to apply the project's data, metadata, and tools for modeling and predictive technologies to help the production of renewable biofuels and a reduce carbon in the environment, according to DOE researchers. The integration of the data, combined with computational models, is expected to greatly accelerate scientific advancements. "There are many different 'silos' of information that have been painstakingly collected; and there are a number of existing tools that bring some strands of data into relation," says Michael Schatz, a quantitative biologist involved in the project. "But there is no overarching tool that can be used across silos." Kbase would enable different labs to submit data and to advance the body of knowledge and spur innovations in predictive biology. DOE hopes Kbase will evolve into a system that can grow as needed and be used by scientists without extensive training in applications.