eScience involves immense amounts of data and huge computing power to manipulate and process the data. However, data does not have to be stored in one location; it can be stored anywhere in the world provided it can be accessed by (ultra) fast internet.
The computers themselves (the hardware) is often distributed across multiple locations (in-house, nationally or globally) but can be configured to work together in parallel as if they were a super computer to process very large tasks. This is usually called ‘distributed computing’ but is sometimes called cyberinfrastructure, or grid computing. Cloud computing is also similar (i.e. sharing computing resources) but using slightly different ‘architecture’ to connect between computers and data.
By sharing computer power, data, resources, people and their specialist expertise, eScience is the essence of collaboration.
As a member of NeSI – the New Zealand eScience infrastructure, Landcare Research scientists have access to vastly superior computing resources and eScience services, including the high performance computing facilities at NIWA, University of Auckland, and the University of Canterbury. For example, Landcare Research entomologists can now process insect DNA sequencing data in a matter of hours instead of days.