• Intelligent control. An intelligent system can perform the same functions as an operator and can learn from the researcher's experience.

In this paper we discuss our experience with the WWL project and some specific examples that we believe demonstrate the ideas behind a successful collaboratory.2 We address some of the issues involved in providing remote and automated access to instrumentation and its advantages to various categories of users.

WWL: Current Implementations for Service, Collaboration, and Education

Instrumentation currently supported by the World Wide Laboratory includes a transmission electron microscope (Philips CM200), nuclear magnetic resonance imaging spectrometers (Surrey Medical Imaging Systems, Varian, TechMag), and a video light microscope. All of these instruments are accessible through Web browser-based user interfaces.

Remote Access to TEM

JavaScope is a Web-based application designed to operate a Philips CM200 transmission electron microscope (TEM) and to view digital images remotely. JavaScope has been written as a client/server application (see Figure 10.1). The JavaScope applet is the client and presents the application interface to the user. JavaScope responds to actions by the user by sending commands to a camera control server and microscope control server that run on a UNIX workstation attached to the TEM and CCD camera. These servers are responsible for controlling the TEM and digital camera using applications and libraries already developed as part of the emScope library.3 The user interface is shown in Figure 10.2.

As a readily accessible tool for remote consultation and exploratory grid browsing, the basic Javascope implementation has been successful. JavaScope has been used by our collaborators in California (Research Institute at Scripps Clinic) to control the TEM in Illinois and provide advice as to the worth of acquiring data from a particular specimen. It has also benefited students at the microscope by providing them with a means to consult with a remotely located advisor.

Remote Access to MRI

The second example in the World Wide Laboratory is remote control of a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging spectrometer by means of a Web browser. This system evolved from our work in developing a distributed control, acquisition, and processing interface for an NMR imaging spectrometer (4T, 31-cm bore) with an acquisition console from Surrey Medical Imaging System.4 This system,

2  

M. Hamalainen, S. Hashim, C. Holsapple, Y. Suh, and A. Whinston, "Structured Discourse for Scientific Collaboration: A Framework for Scientific Collaboration Based on Structured Discourse Analysis," Journal of Organizational Computing, 2(1), 1-26, 1992.

3  

N. Kisseberth, M. Whittaker, D. Weber, C.S. Potter, and B. Carragher, "emScope: A Toolkit for Control and Automation of a Remote Electron Microscope," J. Struct. Biol., 120, 309-319, 1997.

4  

C.S Potter, Z-P. Liang, C.D. Gregory, H.D. Morris, and P.C. Lauterbur, "Toward a Neuroscope: A Real-time Imaging System for the Evaluation of Brain Function," Proceedings of First IEEE International Conference on Image Processing, November 13-16, 1994, Austin, TX, Vol. III, pp. 25-29.



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