Scientists and academics doing e-science need to look beyond the raw power of grid computing to the more meaningful approaches of the web, says a UK computing science professor.

Professor David De Roure, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton will tell delegates at the eResearch Australasia conference in Brisbane tomorrow that those promoting grid computing as the enabler for e-Science may actually be missing the point.

“Although it has the best intentions, the Grid is sometimes its own worst enemy,” said De Roure. “If we want to enable new science then we need to empower the scientist. Delivering a new infrastructure is only part of the solution.”

De Roure will argue that the grid community can learn from the evolution of the web. “It remains a point of debate as to whether the functionality of the Grid can be delivered through the far simpler programming interfaces of the web – I believe it can.”

De Roure is also organising the 2nd Grid and Web 2.0 workshop at the Open Grid Forum in Seattle in September. He pioneered the Semantic Grid initiative in which information and services are given defined meaning through descriptive processes to maximize the potential for sharing and reuse.

In the abstract of his paper to be given at Brisbane, De Roure writes: “eScience presents a vision of new scientific outcomes enabled by a new infrastructure. This cyber-infrastructure or e-infrastructure perspective brings with it a mindset of delivery of grid services to users. But is this approach fundamentally wrong? If we look at what researchers actually do, perhaps we will find that some new thinking is required. This talk promotes a people-centric perspective on eScience infrastructure and suggests that it is time to re-evaluate the Grid ambition.”