About the series
Significant scientific advances are increasingly achieved through complex sets of computations and data analyses. These computations, often represented as workflows of executable jobs and associated data flows, may comprise thousands of steps. Each step may integrate diverse models and data sources, which may be developed by different groups. The applications and data may be also distributed in the execution environment. The assembly and management of such workflows present many challenges, and increasingly ambitious scientific inquiry is continuously pushing the limits of current technology.
Today’s workflow systems are able to manage quite complex computations that include thousands of components, use dozens of data repositories, and harness resources at dozens of sites. However, these applications are structurally simple compared with new emerging requirements from scientists to handle streaming data, accommodate interactive steering, support event-driven analysis, and enable their creation through collaborative design processes involving many scientists across disciplines.
To examine the nature of these challenges and to consider what steps should be taken to address them, a Workshop on the Challenges of Scientific Workflows was held at the National Science Foundation on May 1-2, 2006. The meeting brought together domain scientists, computer scientists, and social scientists to discuss requirements of future scientific applications and the challenges that they present to current workflow technologies.