High Performance Systems (HPS), part of the Research Technologies division of the Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute, provides a number of database-related services - including database hosting, Web services, application building and consulting - free of charge to researchers at universities nationwide. Researchers using the database services are working on studies in various fields, including genomics testing, forest inventory and analysis, stress management and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
With Oracle Database, researchers can leverage the features of an enterprise data management system to meet data sharing and archival requirements as well as enhance collaboration within their community - without spending the time or requiring the expertise to manage the environment themselves.
HPS database administrators monitor the environment to perform backups and upgrades, apply patches and notify users of alerts - protecting data and ensuring that researchers have access to state-of-the-art technology.
In addition, some researchers - who often lack regular access to professional technologists - are using Oracle Application Express, a rapid Web application development tool for Oracle Database, to build and manage research-oriented, data-intensive applications. Even researchers with minimal-programming experience are able to use Oracle Application Express for their research. The Web-based application development environment provides the tools, templates and plug-ins they need to easily leverage research data to enhance their findings and increase productivity.
With Oracle Database and Oracle Application Express, researchers can more effectively compete for grants and funding by ensuring they meet data storage, security and archiving requirements set forth by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health and other government agencies.
For additional insight into research data, HPS also provides researchers with access to Oracle Data Mining, Oracle Spatial and Oracle OLAP to deliver its database-as-a-service to researchers both within Indiana University and at other universities around the country.
Scientists at universities throughout the country are successfully leveraging Indiana University's database solutions to better manage data, collaborate with private corporations and reduce research costs.
For example, with the support of an Oracle Commitment Grant, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center (KTB) is transforming the world's only healthy breast tissue bank into an on-line, publically accessible resource.
Purdue University, a public research institution with five campuses throughout Indiana, is collaborating with the KTB to develop the software that will translate tissue samples into a digital data repository with images of stained tissue viewable under a virtual microscope and annotated with commentary by globally preeminent breast pathologists.
Anticipated to launch in late 2011, the Susan G. Komen virtual tissue bank could change the way breast cancer research is conducted, reducing experiment duplication, eliminating the need for costly research infrastructure and engaging leading scientists around the world in identifying predictors of breast cancer risk.
By leveraging HPS' database services and KTB's Virtual Tissue Bank, researchers can securely examine clinical annotation and experimental data.
Oracle Application Express has enabled the rapid development of new applications that support data reduction and hypothesis generation without having to manage the technology environment.
Purdue University has reduced its research costs with HPS's service, granting researchers greater flexibility in pursuing scientific discoveries during the course of the study.
"Oracle Database and Oracle Application Express are critical to our mission of identifying the biomarkers related to breast cancer. The solution gives our researchers the tools they need to successfully filter and reduce data, as well as generate hypotheses, without being slowed by weeks or months of software obstacles. In addition, the tool's collaborative services make us more competitive for future research opportunities", stated Dr. John Springer, assistant professor, department of computer and information technology, Purdue University.
"Because of its intuitive interface, solid documentation and active user community, Oracle Application Express allows us to leverage our Oracle investments and enhance Oracle Database and its related functionality for researchers. Oracle Application Express is well-suited for our diverse research community as it is usable right out of the box by researchers who have some database experience, such as Microsoft Access, and is able to serve more technologically sophisticated researchers who have unique or complex requirements", stated Nancy Long, principal database consultant, Indiana University High Performance Systems.
"Oracle Database and Oracle Application Express form the foundation for higher education institutions to provide researchers with a secure and reliable Web-enabled environment that provides professional database services and application development tools without requiring in-house expertise. Ultimately, researchers can spend more time on their research programmes instead of on database maintenance and application development - leading to increased functionality and greater innovation", stated Jim Zemaitis, Regional vice president, Oracle Higher Education.