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E-science builds bridges for research

15 September 2010

eSSENCE is a research program designed to bring together disparate competencies and research fields in order to better exploit the potential of e-science. This enables the development of methods and tools that can open up unimagined vistas for new research.

It is no longer unusual for scientists to pursue research with the aid of computer-based research programs, as this is an efficient way to produce valuable research findings. But many researchers use readymade programs without having any idea what potential might be opened if they had their own custom-tailored tools, methods, and programs.

“Our focus is to create computer-based research tools in close collaboration with researchers in other subjects and to further develop programs to enable new and even better research,” says Sverker Holmgren, professor of scientific computing at the Department of Information Technology and one of the two project directors of eSSENCE.

eSSENCE is part of the government’s commitment to research of strategic importance and consists of a consortium of researchers from the universities of Uppsala, Lund, and Umeå. The project is directed from Uppsala.

eSSENCE comprises scientists that use and develop computer-based research programs in their research, in fields like chemistry, physics, and engineering. They collaborate both with each other and with researchers in computing science who have a deeper competence in further developing methods and programs.

Thus far the researchers in eSSENCE are primarily computation-intensive subjects in engineering and natural sciences, and there are four fields of special focus: materials research, interaction between humans and nature, development of e-science tools, and biology.
But social scientific disciplines also stand to benefit greatly from e-science, as advanced methodologies are often needed there as well. For instance, work is underway in economic demography in a project where researchers are analyzing population data gathered over a long period.

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The reearch program eSSENCE