The major thing consumer press does not actively recognize is how much support Microsoft gives the research world. Everyone covered Worldwide Telescope. But at their Techfest a few weeks ago, one of the most impressive and seemingly selfless feats of the company was in the Trident platform, an oceanographic visualization tool. In short, researchers have always had tons of data for currents, migratory paths of animal sea life, temperature and weather over and in the deep blue. But what to do with that data has always been a major problem. Believe it or not, researchers were required to manually create visual representations of their info, or drown in excel sheets.
Trident is just a set of graphics and database tech common in lots of Microsoft products meant for everyday people and businesses, and handing it to academics. The tools are being run on standard PCs, so academics can collect their data using automated drones and process it in real time. Before, data had to be collected by hand and viewed much later. This is not something you can see any of Microsoft's competitors reaching for any time soon.
Trident: a Workflow Workbench for Oceanography
Redmond lab: Microsoft Research, Redmond, Washington, U.S.Science is undergoing a sea change. Instead of the small, private, periodic data sets currently being used, large, sophisticated, remote-sensor systems soon will bring enormous amounts of real-time data to be shared by multidisciplinary scientists. One such example is Project Neptune for oceanography. To cope with this shift from data-poor to data-rich science, new tools are needed to help scientists work effectively with these systems and with the enormous amount of data that they will generate. Trident is a collaborative scientific and engineering partnership between the University of Washington, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Microsoft's Technical Computing Initiative to provide Project Neptune with a scientific-workflow workbench for oceanography. The Trident workbench is built atop the Windows Workflow Foundation. Trident enables users to automate, explore, and visualize data; to compose, run, and catalog experiments; to create a workflow starter kit that makes it easy for users to extend the functionality of Trident; and to learn by exploring and visualizing ocean and model data. We will illustrate how Trident can be used to author workflows through a visual interface, store workflows in a library for easy reuse, and execute oceanographic workflows to create on-demand visualizations. Our booth will include posters that provide context for both the Neptune project and the Trident workflow workbench.