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Allotrope Framework makes lab data sharing easier

The dream of a vendor-agnostic, holistic ‘framework’ for laboratory data management has taken a step closer with the announcement by Allotrope Foundation that it has released the first production version of its flagship Allotrope Framework. The aim is to standardise data representation across proprietary equipment and software, and thus make it easier for laboratory scientists to create, use and exchange laboratory data.

Initially for internal release to members of the Foundation and its network of partners, the package includes version 1.0 of the Allotrope Data Format (ADF), the Application Programming Interfaces, (APIs), and the Allotrope Foundation Taxonomies (AFTs), marking the successful completion of the early phases of development.

The development of the Allotrope Framework is an ongoing project. In addition to the V1.0 elements of the ADF, APIs, and AFTs, the design of the Allotrope Framework includes a comprehensive Metadata Repository built on the taxonomies and a more complete range of API functionality in the form of the Class Libraries.

The generally available release of the full Framework is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2016. The rationale for the Foundation and for the Framework that it has been developing were discussed by Wolfgang Colsman and Rachel Uphill in the August/September issue of Scientific Computing World.

Designed for Allotrope Foundation by Osthus, the information management and technology services company, the Allotrope Framework is an advanced data architecture. Eventually, the aim is to facilitate the capture of experimental data in a standard format, while recording in a standard vocabulary more complete metadata, and opening up easier data-sharing beyond the boundaries of the originating devices and laboratories.

Allotrope Foundation is an international consortium of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies with a common vision to develop innovative new approaches for handling data in R&D, with an initial focus on analytical chemistry. The Allotrope Framework is fully funded by the members of Allotrope Foundation. It collaborates with vendors and academia through the Allotrope Partner Network, whose members get access to technical training materials, pre-release software, comprehensive educational tools, and also an understanding of the real-life business requirements.

Members of Allotrope Foundation in collaboration with the partner network have already begun to implement software solutions that integrate the Framework into their laboratory workflows and enable adoption of the Allotrope Data Format, the cornerstone of the Allotrope Framework that enables software to access any data from any analytical instrument regardless of manufacturer or software version.

Dr Dana Vanderwall, associate director, cheminformatics at Bristol-Myers Squibb, said: ‘The progress on the Allotrope Framework to date has shown significant promise in developing the tools that provide a standard file format and terminology for describing the data and workflow of the analytical laboratory in the software used to generate and analyse that data. We have initiated a project to develop a standard platform for the planning, execution, analysis, and reporting of analytical chemistry across Discovery Research at Bristol-Myers Squibb.’

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