|Matthew Dublin is a senior writer at Genome Technology.|
TACC's API for Scientific Computing on the Web
A new tool developed by a team at the Texas Advanced Computing Center promises to make scientific computing via web interfaces easier and more powerful.
Called the AGAVE API — A Grid and Virtualization Environment — this programming tool allows developers and users to launch a computational experiment using supercomputing resources in a relatively seamless fashion.
"When services have been built to that level, research starts moving really fast," says Rion Dooley, a research associate at TACC and one of the creators of the API. "You can start leveraging manpower and focus exclusively on the science rather than the computation and technology needed to accomplish that science."
For software developers, the AGAVE API provides a way for tools to be added to Web interfaces as well as data management offload and experiment execution with some line coding using a supercomputer.
For users, the AGAVE API essentially provides a science-as-a-service.
This API is currently being used within the iPlant project, which allows users to take advantage of compute resources at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, San Diego Supercomputing Center, and TACC through the XSEDE project.
The developers of the BioExtract Server — a distributed database that consolidates data from heterogeneous bimolecular databases — are also using the AGAVE API to help scale out their resource to meet the demands of bioinformatics researchers.