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Name of Collaboratory :


Collaboratory for High Performance Computing and Communications


URL :  

Collaboratory Status :

Operational   Start Date : End Date : Info Last Updated : Thu, Dec 9 2010 5:01am PST

Primary Collaboratory Function :

  Expert Consultation  

Secondary Collaboratory Functions :


Domain(s) :


Brief Description of the Collaboratory :


Sponsored the the Office of High Performance Computing and Communications, the Collaboratory conducts R&D in at a variety of distance projects-- telemedicine, distance learning, and multimedia digital libraries.

The research effort involves identifying collaborators inside and outside the NLM who have needs matching the research goals, who are willing to perform research in addition to fielding programs involving the technology, and who are willing to contribute some of their own time and resources to the research effort.

Description from the Website: "The Collaboratory for High Performance Computing and Communication is part of the National Library of Medicine's Office of High Performance Computing and Communication (OHPCC). While it is a focal point for the office's internal research and development activities, it also a venue for integrating selected technologies and applications from R & D projects that the office has funded externally. Internal R and D activities often involve working with others in the field, and online collaboration tools are not only part of the physical infrastructure of the collaboratory, their development and use for medical consultation and distance learning is an important area of research.

The Office of High Performance Computing and Communication’s (OHPCC) Collaboratory for High Performance Computing and Communications (the Collaboratory or Collab) is both a project and a physical place. As a place, it is a facility where various research activities occur related to the office’s mission. OHPCC funds external research on the use of advanced networks in healthcare, especially as they relate to telemedicine, disaster management, and distance learning, and conducts similar internal research. As a project, the Collab conducts a range of activities related to the exploration and use of collaboration tools.

Collaboratory activities are conducted in relation to four goals: 1) maintaining knowledge about current and emerging collaboration technologies of possible interest to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), 2) providing a collaboration infrastructure supporting OHPCC work and demonstrating collaboration technologies that NLM has internally or externally funded, 3) leveraging this infrastructure to support other NLM programs, and 4) researching applications of collaboration technologies in telemedicine and distance learning.

Technology demonstrations have been done at national conferences and at NLM. The knowledge produced from by Collab researchers is presented at national meetings, seminars at NLM and NIH, and in peer reviewed publications."

Current projects include:

1) EtherMed is an experimental database to Internet accessible multimedia courseware in health professions education. EtherMed contains records of educational materials that are freely accessible on the web and links to the actual courseware.

2) ImageMed is an experimental system that uses (1) the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) Metathesaurus for indexing and retrieval of medical images, and (2) a distributed image database. The 2001 edition of NLM's Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) Metathesaurus includes about 800,000 concepts and 1.9 million concept names in different source vocabularies. It maps synonymous terms from over 60 standardized vocabularies to unique concepts.

3) Health Education Assets Library (HEAL) is an experimental, distributed database of sharable learning objects online being developed under the National Science Foundation Digital Library Program by the University of Utah Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, the UCLA Medical School, and the University of Oklahoma Colege of Medicine.


Access to Instruments :


Access to Information Resources :

  Sponsors and provides access to three multimedia libraries (see
: 1) EtherMed, "an experimental database to Internet accessible multimedia courseware in health professions education.

Access to People as Resources :


Funding Agency or Sponsor :

United States Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
Office of High Performance Computing and Communication (NIH-NLM) (OHPCC)

Notes on Funding Agencies/Sponsors:

Organizations with Funded Participants:
Organization name:
Approx # of participants:
Description of organization's role(s):
United States Department of Health and Human Services
   National Institutes of Health (NIH)
      National Library of Medicine (NLM)
         Office of High Performance Computing and Communication (NIH-NLM) (OHPCC)

Notes on Participants/Organizations:


Communications Technology Used :

  Most research in the collaboratory involves technologies providing video via IP, including videoconferencing using the h.323 standard, the Access Grid, ConferenceXP, MPEG2 and MotionJPEG codecs in conjunction with other technologies for sharing applications as well as one way video streaming and webcasts combined with real time chat. Use of high definition video streams and the transport of uncompressed digital video, the use of wireless technology to transport video, and extending the interactivity of application sharing programs are technical areas of interest. Collaboration technology has been used at NLM to provide distance learning seminars and tutorials at institutions and national meetings, to monitor end user tests of library products, and to participate in real time events and activities offered online by the Internet2 community. The technology also has been used routinely to collaborate with extramural researchers receiving funding from OHPCC, to make presentations virtually at a distance, to conduct a distance learning research program with the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, and to demonstrate its use in various health science applications at Slice of Life Conferences, Internet2 Member Meetings, and annual meetings of the Radiological Society of North America.  

Technical Capabilities :

  Key Articles :    

Project-reported performance data :

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