Prof.Benjamin ARIBISALA

Experience in Collaborating with SCI-GAIA

March 2017

It has been a great pleasure collaborating with sci-gaia. I first heard of the sci-gaia project in May 2016 through Eko Konnect, a non-governmental education network in Lagos State, Nigeria. Eko Konnect informed me about the call for participation at the hackfest on science gateway in Catania, Italy in July 2016. The information was very timely because since my relocation from the UK to Africa, I have been thinking of how the continent of Africa could benefit from my expertise in medical image analysis. I was excited to know that the hackfest could give me the opportunity to make image analysis software tools available to end users via the web at no cost. In response to the call, I designed Medical Image Processor and Repository (MIPAR) and submitted to sci-gaia. Luckily, I was selected to attend the hackfest in Catania. The hackfest was extremely useful for me as we were trained on science gateway technology. Some of the tools that we were trained on are Futuregateway, gLibrary, kepler and OAR. The trainers doubled as developers and trainers and they made the sections very interactive. One unique thing about the hackfest is the approach. In a typical training that we are all used to, you are trained on a tool and given a certificate, and then off you go. It is up to you whether you use the knowledge acquired or not. The Catania hackfest was different in that participants were given the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the training.

This gave us the opportunity to receive support from the experts. Actually, the experts stayed with us all through the hackfest. I started to implement MIPAR in Catania during the hackfest. The professional support from the sci-gaia team was instrumental to the development of MIPAR.

My experience with the sci-gaia team has been very unique. Firstly, sci-gaia team supported us all through the software development phases of MIPAR. Also, sci-gaia gave us both hardware and software tools for hosting MIPAR. The selflessness, professionalism and openness of sc-gaia team is worth emulating. Additionally, MIPAR has been given some visibility through my collaboration with sci-gaia because sci-gaia has given me financial and professional support to enable me present MIPAR in Italy, Tanzania, Nigeria and Kenya. This visibility which is impossible without the help of sci-gaia has opened up some collaboration opportunity with other scientific teams in Africa. Sci-gaia has given me the opportunity to meet many professionals with the potential for future collaborations. Our collaboration with sci-gaia has produced the first Nigerian science gateway hackfest which was held in Lagos in November 2016. About twenty software developers benefitted from the training. It is worthy of mention that the hackfest was funded by sci-gaia.

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