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Reporting@Home: Delivering Dynamic Graphical Feedback to Participants and Researchers in Community Computing Projects

Stuart Ozer, David Kim, and David Baker

Abstract

A new generation of computationally intensive scientific research projects relies on volunteers from around the world contributing idle computer time to calculate mathematical models. Many of these projects utilize a common architecture to manage the scheduling and distribution of calculations and collection of results from participants. User engagement is critical to the success of these projects, and feedback to participants illustrating their role in the project’s progress is known to increase interest and strengthen the community. This article describes how one project – University of Washington’s Rosetta@Home, which predicts and designs the folded conformations of proteins and protein complexes – created a web-based, on-demand reporting system that graphically illustrates a user or team’s contributions to the project. The reporting service is also useful to the project scientists in assessing the utility of alternative models and computational techniques. The system relies on a comprehensive database platform that includes tools for data integration, data management, querying and web-based reporting. The reporting components integrate seamlessly with the rest of the project’s data and web infrastructure, and the report pages have proven to be popular among both participants and lab members.

Details

Publication typeTechReport
NumberMSR-TR-2007-17
Pages7
InstitutionMicrosoft Research
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