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MoSeS: Finding a route to a Promised Land


The dark ages and the enlightenment. Catastrophic end for the CCG Web Server ... I aim to capturing the process from the start on the NCeSS Sakai Portal ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: MoSeS: Finding a route to a Promised Land

MoSeS Finding a route to a Promised Land
  • Andy Turner
  • http//

Presentation Outline
  • Introduction
  • History of my web content
  • Web 2.0 impacts on e-Research
  • MoSeS Sustainability
  • Developing an e-Infrastructure for Social
    Simulation (e-ISS)
  • Recap and the killer app

  • This session
  • MoSeS
  • Micro-blogging and feedback
  • Twitter and open micro-blogging

This session
  • 50 minutes
  • Go through things at least three times
  • First time to introduce
  • Last time a brief recap
  • Open session
  • I encourage your interactive and feedback
  • Feedback with (micro)bloggers in the room
  • To demonstrate some benefits of it.

  • MoSeS is about Modelling and Simulation (for of
    in) e-Social Science
  • More introduction and an attempt to define
    e-Social Science to follow
  • This presentation is more about the process of
    developing MoSeS and the use of blogs and wikis
    to capture that and bootstrap its development
  • I am not planning to go into detail about the
    demographic modelling or its applied uses unless
    you really want me to
  • All the MoSeS code we developed is open source
    and Java and that is the core of our work
  • We did use great tools developed by others to do
    this most of this is open source and Java
  • Netbeans
  • MPJ Express
  • We did use a variety of computational resources
  • We got more results thanks to NGS

Micro-blogging and feedback
  • Hands up who in the room might micro-blog about
    research3 during this session
  • Im using _at_andyt
  • This is forwarded to Twitter _at_agdturner
  • Have a quick look
  • Anyone using any other service, please shout out
    what it is
  • If anyone does shout this out, someone please
    blog it on one of the above channels

Twitter and open micro-blogging
  • A Twitter user for a bit over 2 days
  • Thanks to Twitter and its users and profile
  • I now appreciate the benefits of micro-blogging
  • But
  • But
  • But

Twitter not open enough for my liking
  • There is an open alternative to Twitter called
  • A service based on Laconica
  • Based on open standards
  • Some of you have experience with this and have
    used Twitter for practical reasons
  • I urge you to switch back
  • Break out before its too late
  • My friend Ciaran Gulnieks
  • A micro-blogging expert
  • Among other things
  • Convinced me that Laconica is a good way to go
  • http//
  • Ive been thinking about how to get this into
    iGoogle tomorrow and how I can then get the
    Google Gadget into the NCeSS Sakai Portal

History of my web content
  • In the beginning
  • The dark ages and the enlightenment
  • Blog and wiki
  • Blog blog blog
  • Publishing fun and metadata
  • Using a VRE

In the beginning
  • Web content evolves over time
  • I began with static web content
  • Served out by the CCG web server
  • I started to contribute project pages to this in
  • Soon after, the School of Geography got its own
    Web Server
  • I got a basic web home page on this
  • I began to develop it
  • Most of what I did was publish static HTML
  • Many projects were benefitting from using content
    management systems
  • For the lifetime of the project this was good,
    but for how long would the content survive?

The dark ages and the enlightenment
  • Catastrophic end for the CCG Web Server
  • We had been crossing our fingers for too long
  • No resource to do anything about it
  • A major problem for CCG
  • Most of the people involved on the projects
    hosted on that had moved on
  • Andy Evans and I began to sort out the mess which
    had been accumulating since about 1994.
  • Our first focus was our own projects
  • Next were the high profile projects we were
    getting harassed about
  • We began the task of restoring the history of our
    research group
  • It has taken years to get back to where we are
  • Has anyone else here experienced something like
  • Did you lose a lot?
  • What did you lose most of dynamic or statically
    served content?
  • RIP

  • Most of the CCG dynamically generated content was
    gone and were unlikely to ever get it back
  • Some applets survived
  • Pages served out via Content Managements Systems
  • Backed with old databases
  • Fossilised
  • Most CCG projects had set up and used a different
  • State of the art for the time
  • It seemed best to start again
  • Extreme
  • Second time round I was in charge of the web
  • Determined to try to keep track of what we were
    doing and clean up and re-input the history as we
    went along.

Blog and wiki
  • I began using wikis and blogs to collaborate in
    about 2005
  • The initial use was for reading content
  • Soon I was editing wiki content and commenting on
    blogs as anon
  • It took me a while to realise that I really
    should get an account or to blog myself if I was
    ever going to keep track of my blog comments
  • Similarly I felt the need to start compiling a
    dossier of what wikis I used and what wiki
    changes I made
  • The tools were not really helping by recording my
    use and making my contribution clear
  • I foresaw a difficulty if I was ask for my
    publications and I was unable to point to any
    evidence that I had contributed to the
    development of a resource.
  • I wanted to make a dossier, make it open, make it
    a blog of sorts

Blog blog blog
  • Start of 2006, 6 months after MoSeS began I
    started my own blog, blogging most working days
  • It was static HTML and I didnt use any Web 2.0
    tool it was all done via my area on the School of
    Geography web site
  • http//
  • After a couple of months I produced an RSS feed
    and added a new item once a month.
  • In the first couple of months I was mainly
    posting about what I was reading
  • Soon I was blogging about much of the work I was
  • Soon I felt compelled to blog every day
  • Each monthly item and each daily entry took the
    form of nested lists
  • Gradually over time a daily template evolved

  • With practice
  • I got better at my style of blogging and it
    became less of a burden
  • I began blogging as I was doing things
  • My system/workflow involved uploaded files from a
    PC in my office in Leeds to the web server
  • I wanted to start blogging in meeting away from
    my office
  • Time to consider my options
  • At the start blogging was fairly time consuming
    thing and the rewards seemed quite distant, but I
    got enough reward to keep going and I got some
    good encouragement from others.
  • I might have stopped without it
  • My key user kept me going
  • Thank you Paul Townend

Publishing fun and metadata
  • I have became increasingly aware of standards and
    the importance of using them to make things
    interoperable and improve accessibility and
  • In 2005 I started to update all my web pages so
    that they were conforming to the standards that
    had evolved
  • Blogging helped to drive this process, but I also
    had a lot of old projects and pages which I might
    not update often
  • So I systematically went though them all

  • Revisiting old projects and applications was
    interesting and good revision
  • It sort of kept the projects alive
  • None of the information content on the pages was
    perfect either so I began an on-going campaign of
    incremental improvement
  • I got a lot of instant satisfaction in improving
    these things and a feel good factor about making
    things available
  • When I got positive feedback from others or could
    use this work it was a great feeling
  • Some of my personal pages started to change quite
    a lot and I thought each page needed some basic
    metadata, a version and a date when it was
  • There is a history in the comments a track of
    this metadata in my Web Pages
  • I can see when and how often I was updating
  • Occasionally I would keep a version of the page
    in a separate file.
  • As well as being useful for me to keep track,
    this was also potentially useful for anyone
    wanting to reference my web content

Using a VRE
  • Promotion of Sakai made me give it a go
  • It was also open source and developed in Java and
    was looking to be standards compliant
  • It ticked these important boxes
  • In the last year or so, since the NCeSS Sakai
    Portal has been available, more and more of my
    blogging is being done via the wiki tool and on
    my personal worksite.
  • http//
  • Youre not supposed to access that, but you can
    the wiki
  • http//
  • Which links to various resources which are mainly
  • For MoSeS I wanted to capture information about
    meetings took place, and I started distilling
    Time for a progress report on MoSeS

  • What links to the CCG and School of Geography Web
    Content Ive developed?
  • Who read it?
  • Not much chance of identifying other users now
  • Unless someone has been working in similar way to
  • It is increasingly easy to find those links that
    have persisted over time and maybe one day Ill
    get around to it.

MoSeS Sustainability
  • MoSeS has matured, but how mature is it?
  • 8 months ago preparing for the Oxford eResearch
  • First phase NCeSS/ESRC funding still paying its
  • Increasing documentation burdon
  • Finally getting somewhere producing results and
    developing collaborations

  • Generative e-Social Science
  • Deciding what to do with this
  • I aim to capturing the process from the start on
    the NCeSS Sakai Portal
  • Trying to encourage the team to adopt this way of
  • Leaving a trail to help those trying to
    understand how research is done
  • Using a shared WordPress blog to foster
    collaboration and for dissemination and getting
    feedback on the research and research process
  • Progress in Agent based modelling of Daily

Developing an e-Infrastructure for Social
Simulation (e-ISS)
  • JISC are the saviours of us all
  • We are about to start
  • We captured some of the process of developing the
  • We can sustain the NCeSS Sakai Portal
  • Long live NCeSS!

Back to origins again
  • SIM-UK
  • The next big thing
  • Killer app
  • Road Safety
  • Analysing road accident risk

Recap and the killer app
  • Introduction
  • History of my web content
  • Web 2.0 impacts on e-Research
  • MoSeS Sustainability
  • Developing an e-Infrastructure for Social
    Simulation (e-ISS)
  • Recap and the killer app

Thanks and Acknowledgements
  • CCG, University of Leeds
  • SIM-UK
  • NCeSS
  • NGS
  • EGEE
  • e-Research community
  • Organisers
  • You

  • Andy Turner
  • http//
  • Autobiography
  • Blog
  • http//
  • MoSeS
  • http//
  • Open e-Research
  • Research and blog about it in detail
  • Distill from the blog

What is MoSeS?
  • Modelling and Simulation for e-Social Science
  • http//
  • e-Social Science being the application of
    e-Science concepts to social science problem
  • e-Science is enhanced science that uses the
    Internet, software tools and structured
    information for collaborative work
  • A first phase research node of NCeSS
  • Part of a UK collaborative partnership developing
    e-Social Science
  • The key part of its program of work is to
    develop an individually based demographic model
    of the UK for 2001 to 2031
  • MoSeS people

MoSeS Starts for the Promised Land
  • Work on MoSeS was divided into 3 strands
  • demographic modelling
  • applications of demographic models
  • user interface and portal development
  • 3 applications
  • health care planning
  • transportation research
  • business application.

My MoSeS Checklist
  • Outputs to be made as openly available as
  • Use appropriate standards
  • Automate with free and open source software.
  • Results to be replicable
  • Be open about what we were trying to do and how
  • Adopt best practice and learn from others in
    NCeSS and think about what else they wanted.

  • What is a blog?
  • Why blog?
  • The evolution of my blog
  • People use my blog
  • It has opened up what I do
  • The benefits far outweigh the costs

Philosophy of e-Social Science
  • Jankowski 2007, Scott and Venters 2007
  • Is e-Social Science open by definition?
  • Is e-Social Science more than simply the
    application of e-Science methods to the social

Reflection on MoSeS
  • Never-ending story…
  • Too early to judge?
  • There are many positives
  • I have learned a great deal over the last 3 going
    on 4 years and found a community of collaborators
    that I am happy and excited to work with.
  • I have developed a lot of structured information
    about me and my research interests.
  • I have participated in lots of surveys.

Acknowledgements and Thanks
  • This work was supported by the ESRC under
  • Thanks to all involved in eResearch for your
    ongoing collaboration.
  • Special thanks to my NCeSS and MoSeS colleagues.
  • Thanks to the Oxford eResearch conference
  • Thank you for listening!

MoSeS Rationale
  • The idea is to provide planners, policy makers
    and the public with a tool to help them analyse
    the potential impacts and the likely effect of
    planning and policy changes.
  • Example Application
  • There may be a housing policy to do with joint
    ownership, taxation and planning restriction
    legislation that can be developed to alleviate
    problems to do with lack of affordable housing
    and workers without precipitating a crash in the
    housing market and economy as a whole
  • A balanced policy may be easier to develop by
    running a large number of simulations within a
    system like SimCity for real to understand the
    sensitivities involved

Initial Tasks
  • Develop methods to generate individual human
    population data for the UK from 2001 UK human
    population census data
  • Develop a Toy Model
  • Dynamic agent based microsimulation modelling
    toolkit and apply it to simulate change in the UK
  • Develop applications for
  • Health
  • Business
  • Transport

  • Grid enabling the data and tools
  • Visualisation
  • Google Earth
  • Computer Games
  • Collaboration
  • Retaining a problem focus
  • Design and Development

Generic MoSeS Approach
  • MoSeS to date has approached Modelling and
    Simulation from a specific angle
  • Geographic
  • Demographic
  • Contemporary
  • About the UK
  • Targeted towards supporting a developing set of
  • It is not a requirement to make it clear what
    steps can be followed by other Social Scientists
    wanting to Model and Simulate something different
  • However, the generic work of MoSeS should be
    relevant and we are working towards this

MoSeS Vision
  • Suppose that computational power and data storage
    were not an issue what would you build?
  • SimCity
  • http//
  • For real on a national scale

MoSeS First Steps
  • The development of a national demographic model
  • The development of 3 applications
  • Health care
  • Transport
  • Business
  • The development of a portal interface to support
    the development and resulting applications by
    providing access to the data, models and
    simulations and presenting information to users
    (application developers) in a secure way

Communal Establishments
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