Monash TARDIS transports data through time

28 April 2010

Australian Synchrotron scientist Dr Tom Caradoc-Davies, Associate Professor Ashley Buckle and software engineer Steve Androulakis
Australian Synchrotron scientist Dr Tom Caradoc-Davies, Associate Professor Ashley Buckle and software engineer Steve Androulakis

A revolutionary online data management program developed by Monash researchers is being used by scientists at the Australian Synchrotron and exported to institutions around the world.

Developed by biochemist Associate Professor Ashley Buckle and software engineer Steve Androulakis, the MyTARDIS/TARDIS program gives researchers a place where they can securely store research information and provides them with the opportunity to share the most complex of scientific data via the internet.

"The program records the data generated from an experiment, catalogues it, and transfers it back to the home institution. The researcher can then analyse the data and make it publicly available alongside publication of the results in a scientific journal," Associate Professor Buckle said.

"Before MyTARDIS, if I was using a synchrotron, I had to take an external hard-drive to the facility to save my data. If the research was conducted overseas, precious raw data had to be carried back through airports. If anything happened to that hard-drive, more than a year's worth of work could be lost."

Associate Professor Buckle said the software, which took two years to develop, also helped researchers share their data.

"Our software has created a central place where researchers can exchange information rapidly and securely. Sharing data with colleagues is an essential aspect of modern day research, and technology use is integral to our success."

The project has been developed with the support of the Monash e-Research Centre (MeRC), the Victorian e-Research Strategic initiative, the Australian Synchrotron and the Australian National Data Service.

MeRC director Professor Paul Bonnington said software engineer Steve Androulakis worked side by side with scientists in their laboratories to develop the program. He said he believed the project was just the beginning for further collaboration between science and technology.

"The correct technological tools needed to be developed for scientists to continue delivering cutting edge research outcomes," he said.

"The TARDIS project has shown that the most effective way of achieving positive outcomes is to have the people who are developing the technologies situated at the coal face."