Kevin Nam, Mark Ackerman

Keyword: bio-informatics, distributive resource management, classifier, user interfaces, web 2.0, ontology    user_ui

Pedro is a distributed resource discovery/management system over the World Wide Web.  There are many independent, but related resources scattered around on the Web but without an easy way to connect them for a useful purpose.  For example, in the bio-informatics world, researchers used to make a list of links to bio-information tools for their own use.  These pages are in simple HTML, and are static and not maintained over time.  Several links become invalid after a while, but no real way to fix them other than through manual editing.  A beginning researcher who just entered the bio-informatics world has little idea where to locate these tools, what are good tools, and what tools she may need for her research purpose. classifier1

Pedro gives a new life to the static and scattered information by connecting them and creating new values.  It consists of:

1) Crawler/ harvester for resource discover: an intelligent web crawler finds similar and related resource pages created independently by researchers, universities, and labs.

2) Classifier: once the crawler/harvester collects resources, a classifier sorts them into related groups.

3) Resource connector: different types of resources are described in RDF (Resource Description Framework), and their use cases are populated.  For example, a bio-informatics scientist who needs to run a specific analysis on certain types of gene sequence may need X, Y tools in Z format.  These use cases are accumulated and rated by peer users in order to create best of practice scenarios.ontology1

4) Customized user output and interfaces: allows a combination of different resources that suits an individual user’s needs.

Technical details:  The  Crawler/harvester and user interfaces are written in JAVA, resource ontologies are visually represented using the prefuse visualization toolkit.  Custom output and web interfaces are written in HTML, and Javascript library ExtJS.