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Scientific Programming
Volume 14, Issue 3-4, Pages 195-208

Supporting the Construction of Workflows for Biodiversity Problem-Solving Accessing Secure, Distributed Resources

J.S. Pahwa,1 A.C. Jones,1 R.J. White,1 M. Burgess,1 W.A. Gray,1 N.J. Fiddian,1 R.O. Smith,1 A.R. Hardisty,1 T. Sutton,2 P. Brewer,2 C. Yesson,2 N. Caithness,2 A. Culham,2 F.A. Bisby,2 M. Scoble,3 P. Williams,3 and S. Bhagwat3

1Cardiff School of Computer Science, Cardiff University, Queen's Buildings, 5 The Parade, Roath, Cardiff CF24 3AA, UK
2School of Plant Sciences, The University of Reading, Berks RG6 6AS, UK
3The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK

Received 30 December 2006; Accepted 30 December 2006

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the Biodiversity World (BDW) project we have created a flexible and extensible Web Services-based Grid environment for biodiversity researchers to solve problems in biodiversity and analyse biodiversity patterns. In this environment, heterogeneous and globally distributed biodiversity-related resources such as data sets and analytical tools are made available to be accessed and assembled by users into workflows to perform complex scientific experiments. One such experiment is bioclimatic modelling of the geographical distribution of individual species using climate variables in order to explain past and future climate-related changes in species distribution. Data sources and analytical tools required for such analysis of species distribution are widely dispersed, available on heterogeneous platforms, present data in different formats and lack inherent interoperability. The present BDW system brings all these disparate units together so that the user can combine tools with little thought as to their original availability, data formats and interoperability. The new prototype BDW system architecture not only brings together heterogeneous resources but also enables utilisation of computational resources and provides a secure access to BDW resources via a federated security model. We describe features of the new BDW system and its security model which enable user authentication from a workflow application as part of workflow execution.