e-Science Central is a Science-as-a-Service platform that combines three emerging technologies — Software as a Service (so you only need a web browser to do your science), Social Networking (to encourage you to interact and create your communities) and Cloud Computing (to provide you with storage and computational power). Using only a browser, you can upload your data, share it in a controlled way with your colleagues, and analyse the data using either a set of pre-defined services, or your own, which you can upload for execution and sharing. You can also record your progress in notebooks and publish your work on-line or conventionally. Moreover, e-Science Central gives you a workflow editing and enactment tool to allow you automation of analysis through the browser.
You can work entirely in private, collaborate with trusted colleagues or publish openly, as and when you choose. As a scientists get access to extensive specialist scientific data and software services at very low cost and without needing to set up and maintain your own systems. You have complete control over what and when to share and with digital signing can establish ownership and authorship priority for publication or patenting.
A key feature of e-Science Central is that it allows users to analyze data, rather than just to share it as is the case with many collaboration systems. Its in-browser workflow editor allows users to build a workflow by dragging services from the left hand side of the screen onto the canvas on the right, and then connect them with arcs. A core set of services are provided for data manipulation, statistic analysis and visualization. However, the e-Science Central “Science Platform as a Service” allows developers can upload their own services into the system and share them in a controlled way, as for data. These services can be written in a variety of languages including Java, the family of .Net languages, R and Octave.
Figure below shows the key components of the e-Science Central Science “Platform as a Service” sitting on an “Infrastructure as a Service” cloud. Services in workflows can be scheduled on a cloud, so exploiting their potential for scalability, and the ability to acquire resources when needed. This has many advantages; it allows e-Science Central to deliver the processing power users need, when they need it. As a result it can support a greater number of users, running more complex scientific analyses. From the point of view of science service developers, it gives them the power of cloud computing, without them actually having to manage the complexity of developing cloud-specific software; they can create services in a variety of languages, upload them into e-Science Central, and have them executed transparently on the Cloud.