Provenance and Scientific Workflows

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CIS Colloquium, Feb 17, 2010, 01:30PM – 02:30PM, Wachman 447

Provenance and Scientific Workflows

Susan Davidson, University of Pennsylvania

We live in a world where data, information, and knowledge can be quickly and easily created, and the justification for its existence as quickly and easily forgotten. Nowhere is this more problematic than in e-Science, where the development of high-throughput technologies and the ability to rapidly perform ”in-silico” experiments using scientific workflows has led to a tidal wave of data whose provenance is unknown. In this talk, I will discuss challenges in managing and querying the provenance of data through scientific workflows and some emerging solutions to efficiently answering provenance queries, focusing user attention on meaningful provenance, and understanding the difference in provenance.

Susan B. Davidson received the B.A. degree in Mathematics from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, in 1978, and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University, Princeton NJ, in 1980 and 1982. Dr. Davidson is the Weiss Professor and Chair of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania, where she has been since 1982. She also served as Deputy Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science from 2005-2007.

Dr. Davidson’s research interests include database and web-based systems, and bioinformatics. Within bioinformatics she is known for her work with the Kleisli data integration system (joint work with Drs. Buneman, Tannen and Overton), which was subsequently commercialized in the company GeneticXChange. Her more recent work has centered on XML technologies for data sharing, data integration and data curation, as well as scientific workflow systems.

Dr. Davidson was the founding co-director of the Center for Bioinformatics (PCBI) from 1997-2000, and interim director from 2000-2003. She is also a founding co-leader of the Greater Philadelphia Bioinformatics Alliance, which pulls together the region’s leading universities and life science companies to accelerate innovation and education in bioinformatics. She holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Genetics, is an (Association for Computing Machinery) ACM Fellow, received the Lenore Rowe Williams Award (2002), and was a Fulbright Scholar and recipient of a Hitachi Chair (2004).