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Award-Winning SeedMeLab Grows with New Software-as-a-Service

Project at San Diego Supercomputer Center enhances data sharing for researchers

Published April 22, 2021

 Image (and video below) courtesy of SeedMeLab / SDSC.

By Cynthia Dillon, SDSC Communications

Since its first official release less than two years ago, the SeedMeLab project at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego has germinated. With hundreds of active installations, the growing web-based data management system recently earned an R&D 100 Award—an annual prize recognizing the top 100 technology products of the year—and now is launching its new Software-as-a-Service.

Backed by the National Science Foundation (NSF), SDSC, Science Gateways Community Institute and UC San Diego, the SeedMeLab grew out of the efforts of SDSC’s Visualization Group Leader Amit Chourasia, Director Michael Norman and Technical Architect David Nadeau. Master’s degree and undergraduate interns from UC San Diego’s Computer Science and Engineering Department, as well as regional high school students, also participated. The award-winning project’s new Software-as-a-Service is specifically designed to provide file/information sharing more aligned with the needs of researchers.

“Research data often accumulates on the cloud/file server, bereft of its context which may exist in emails, meetings or elsewhere,” explained Chourasia. “Over time, team members change and it becomes difficult for principal investigators, professors and other stakeholders to find, track or reuse this rich information and data products from their own work.”

SeedMeLab attempts to solve this challenge in four ways: 1) it allows natural organization of data as files and folders, but compliments with an ability to describe each item either as unstructured text and/or with custom metadata; 2) it presents the data and commentary as a sort of blog post in reverse—with data first followed by its description (if any) and then followed by comments; 3) it resolves the data access and access control issue for the team and collaborators and 4) it allows establishing a brand identity for a researcher’s data, with a dedicated and customizable website.

“We’re essentially democratizing data dissemination with the principal investigator or the originating project as the primary/complimentary source,” said Chourasia. “SeedMeLab improves research collaboration, boosts knowledge retention and maintains continuity among changing team members.”

Anyone can explore the new scientific data management system and view informational videos at SeedMeLab or even gain hands-on experience with a free trial through a web-browser, then subsequently choose to self-host via Open-Source software or turnkey-managed hosting provided by SDSC. There are two upcoming virtual events as well:

SeedMeLab was developed with support from the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 1443083) followed by SDSC’s internal investment to refine, productize and sustain it. Science Gateways Community Institute provided consultation on sustainability, value proposition marketing, security and usability. Institute for Global Entrepreneurship at UC San Diego and BRINK at the University of San Diego provided consultation and guidance on sustainability.

About SDSC

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) is a leader and pioneer in high-performance and data-intensive computing, providing cyberinfrastructure resources, services and expertise to the national research community, academia and industry. Located on the UC San Diego campus, SDSC supports hundreds of multidisciplinary programs spanning a wide variety of domains, from astrophysics and earth sciences to disease research and drug discovery.