August 8, 2013 | Ian Foster

Researchers who move data over the Internet with tools such as FTP on the TCP communication protocol to detect and retransmit data packets that have become corrupted in transit. It turns out that in doing so, they are leaning on an extremely weak reed. A 16-bit checksum means that 1 in 65,536 bad packets will be erroneously accepted as correct. You might think that corrupted packets are rare.

December 14, 2011 | Ian Foster

If This Then That ( is an intriguing new service for managing and integrating social media. It lets you specify simple rules of the form:

if <this event> then do <that action>

...where <this event> may be something like arrival of an email, a local weather forecast of rain, or a new blog post on Tumblr, and <that action> can be something like send an SMS message or an email, or post to EverNote or Facebook.

October 31, 2011 | Ian Foster

In our work with many hundreds of researchers who work in smaller labs, we’ve learned a few things about what is likely to be adopted and what is likely to go nowhere. For these scientists, who represent the majority of researchers working today, cyberinfrastructure can’t be delivered by providing software to be installed in a lab: they too often lack the local infrastructure and expertise.

May 9, 2011 | Ian Foster

As I pondered what tone to set for this blog, I tried to put myself in the shoes of the professional researcher. While I’ve lived that life, the everyday life of the dedicated, full-time researcher today has changed (and is changing) beyond what I’ve experienced, and I feel for you all out there who are challenged day-in, day-out with getting your work done in a rapidly changing world. For many researchers today, it’s all about wrangling massive data using faster and faster computers, while also struggling to keep ahead of the crowd by forging and sustaining ever-more-ambitious interdisciplinary collaborations. Those of you who have access to the right tools for these tasks are in the minority: Sure, big science projects have capabilities for getting and working with the data they need. But the average hardworking independent researcher or smaller lab does not. So the challenge (and opportunity) is to make these capabilities accessible not just to a few “big science” projects but to every researcher everywhere.

May 9, 2011 | Ian Foster

Welcome to the Globus Online blog! On these pages we plan to present/discuss/debate a range of topics dear to the hearts of computational researchers: data movement, information sharing and collaboration, SaaS tools for researchers, grid vs. cloud (and who cares), and of course Monty Python. Most importantly, we will highlight stories about – and from – users who have found ways to use Globus Online to improve their work. The goal is to create a resource and forum to help make your lives easier.