The University of Texas at Austin

LIFT Award Recipients Share APPSOMA Success

April 26, 2013

At a recent Research & Educational Technology (R&E) committee meeting, Longhorn Innovation Fund for Technology (LIFT) award recipients presented exciting news about the APPSOMA project. APPSOMA is an innovative cloud-based approach to promote online coding, research activities and research computations with reproducible results. APPSOMA is nirvana for developing applications!

APPSOMA offers a unique and ground-breaking solution for those who have had to contend with maintaining development environments, connecting large data sets, porting them to servers, reproducing results, scaling to many servers and setting up non-developer machines. The capability provides web-based and cloud based tools that enable programmers or researchers to develop in their chosen programming language. Programmers and researchers can now experiment using on-demand, configurable virtual computer servers in the UT Austin private cloud, instead of needing to deploy their own hardware.

Researchers, educators and students in need of safe, secure, and straightforward computational resources are able to use the APPSOMA offering―which is available in beta version―to develop and execute code. APPSOMA is already being used in some classes with computational or programming needs by embedding the site into class pages or blogs. Other uses include students or staff learning to program in different languages as well as collaborate online with peers―all in an easy to use, secure environment. Researchers will be able to use APPSOMA to develop and execute code based on their interest, produce cost-effective results, and export the output for future reference.

Already, early adopters are using or planning to use APPSOMA in the following ways:

  • The Marcotte Lab, under the direction of Edward Marcotte, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Natural Sciences, used APPSOMA to create a web portal to the lab’s analytical pipeline–“Mass Spec Blender”–a tool for protein identification and abundance detection from mass spectrometry data.
  • As part of the Summer Statistics Institute May 20-24, 2013, Scott Hunicke Smith will use APPSOMA in his class "Intro to NGS Bioinformatics." In the class, students are taught to analyze DNA sequence data using Linux-based tools; APPSOMA will enable student access to a pre-installed, pre-configured software environment as well as easy to find data resources.
  • The ITS Education Team is promoting the use of APPSOMA in the Python training classes and evaluating the possibility of using it as a learning environment in the Software Developer Training Program.

Want to learn more or take a test drive? Go to the APPSOMA site, create an account, and spend some time exploring the game-changing possibilities of this new capability: https://appsoma.austin.utexas.edu/

APPSOMA is a innovative collaboration between the Genome Sequence and Analysis Facility (GSAF), Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology (CSSB), and Information Technology Services (ITS). APPSOMA is available to all UT Austin colleges, departments, or units with programming or computational needs.

Special thanks go to Zack Booth Simpson and Ken Demarest, Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology; Scott Hunicke Smith, Genome Sequence and Analysis Facility; Huapei Chen and Chris Thorpe, Information Technology Services for their visionary work in developing this new service.

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