CCF (Collaborative Computing Frameworks) is a suite of software systems, communications protocols, and tools that enable collaborative, computer-based cooperative work. CCF constructs a virtual work environment on multiple computer systems connected over the Internet, to form a Collaboratory. In this setting, participants interact with each other, simultaneously access and operate computer applications, refer to global data repositories or archives, collectively create and manipulate documents or other artifacts, perform computational transformations, and conduct a number of other activities via telepresence. Research issues addressed in this project include problem solving environments and methodologies for laboratory and instrument-based scientific disciplines, and computer science issues in heterogeneous distributed systems. New approaches are being investigated and developed for fast multiway communication, robust geographically distributed data management methodologies, high-performance computational transforms inlined within collaboration sessions, and related auxiliary issues such as active documents, security, archival storage, and experiment management and control.
The overall goal of CCF is to enable the construction of efficient and flexible collaboratories. Although we expect that CCF will be useful in a number of scenarios, a guiding principle in its design was to identify and meet the needs of natural science investigators with a diverse set of computing, instrument interfacing, and collaboration requirements. Thus, the primary target domain for CCF is collaborative research in chemistry, physics, and biochemistry, and closely related areas. Research methodology in laboratory and instrument based sciences is increasingly dependent upon computation, interaction, visualization, and data storage/retrieval. The CCF project is investigating and developing innovative enabling technologies to support collaborative, distributed, computer-based problem solving in the natural sciences. The goal is to evolve a virtual environment for distributed computing that integrally supports human AV communication, high performance heterogeneous computing, and distributed data management facilities. Computational transforms, instrument interfacing, data referral, visualization, and collaborative work in chemistry, physics, and biomedical fields will guide the development of methodologies and software tools to facilitate collaborative research.