ZOO: A Desktop Experiment Management Environment (demo description)
Yannis Ioannidis
Miron Livny
Anastasia Ailamaki
Anand Narayanan
Andrew Therber
Date published: 
Published In: 
Int’l ACM SIGMOD Conference, Tucson, AZ, May 1997, pp. 580-583

Despite much interest in the area of Scientific Database Systems [2, 11], a major problem that many experimental scientists are still facing today is that there are no adequate experiment management tools that are powerful enough to capture the complexity of the experiments and at the same time are natural and intuitive to the nonexpert. Over the past three years, in collaboration with several domain scientists, we have studied the needs of a wide range of experimental disciplines, developed solutions to some of the basic problems in experiment management, and have made significant progress towards implementing a simple Desktop Experiment Management Ervironment (DEME) called Zoo. Our work has proceeded in a tight loop between developing generic experiment management technology that is implemented in a generic tool, Zoo, installing customized enhancements of the tool that constitute full systems (complete Customized Desktop Experiment Management Systems (CDEMSS)) in laboratories of interest, and using the provided feedback to guide our research directions and decisions. The defining document of the entire project has appeared in the 1996 VLDB Conference [8]. Specific aspects of the project and some of the Zoo modules (mostly emphasizing user interfaces) have also been discussed elsewhere: the role of schemas in Zoo [6], the theoretical framework used for schema visualization [3] and the resulting prototype schema manager [4, 7], the data model and query language of the system [12], and the object-to-file translator [1]. In this short demonstration document, we first describe the overall philosophy and architecture of Zoo and then briefly discuss our experiences with the use of the current Zoo prototype. Most of this exposition is taken from the main Zoo paper mentioned above [8]. Finally, we provide an overview of how we demonstrate the system.

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