Toward the design and testing of a model-sharing collaboratory
Author(s)Tomczak, Mika A. (Mika Andrea)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
David R. Wallace.
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The frequency and importance of collaboration in scientific research continue to increase, and technologies to facilitate these collaborative efforts are being developed. Collaboratories, or Internet-based virtual laboratories, are one such example of these distance technologies. This thesis seeks to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of collaborative endeavors through the creation of a new type of collaboratory. First, a new collaboratory is proposed and described. This model-sharing collaboratory permits scientists and researchers to publish their computer models and simulations in an interactive format on the Web, allowing other scientists and researchers to use and experiment with their models first-hand. The collaboratory also allows users to create new models, by adding new features to others' models, or by combining more than one existing model. Facilitating scientists' direct interaction with their colleagues' work will minimize the repetition of work and increase the common knowledge shared by the scientists. Then, a specific target user community for this collaboratory is examined, because the user group ultimately defines the success or failure of a collaboratory. The community based around the Journal of Industrial Ecology, a quarterly academic publication in the field of industrial ecology, is analyzed. Its members' interests, professional goals, computer use habits, and collaboration patterns are all examined; it is concluded that the community has sufficient collaboration readiness and sufficient technology readiness to accept the new collaboratory. Finally, future pilot tests are described, and critical questions that remain unanswered are proposed. How the answers to these unknowns will help refine the collaboratory is discussed, and how the collaboratory should ultimately be deployed as a free, stand-alone software package is explained.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, 2008.Includes bibliographical references (p. 91-93).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology