CombeChem
       
 
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Introduction

e-Science is about global collaboration in key areas of science and the next generation of infrastructure that will enable it. It involves the `end-to-end' linking of data and information in the face of the data deluge created by emerging experimental techniques. CombeChem, an EPSRC e-Science pilot project, took this vision as its focus and involved a significant number of collaborators, spread over several disciplines, based in multiple departments at Southampton, together with several other academic and industrial concerns. The project concentrated on Grid-enabled combinatorial chemistry, involving synthetic, laser and surface chemistry, and crystallography, as examples of the development of an e-Lab, using pervasive computing technology to record information on all aspects of laboratory work and carry this information forward through the whole chain of generation of chemical knowledge. We aimed to provide the digital support for an end-to-end knowledge sequence in which an experiment produces data, from which results are derived, then searched for patterns, from which conclusions are drawn, leading to further experiments. The progress of science depends on each scientist building on the results produced by others; re-use of data, in both anticipated and unanticipated ways, is vital. E-Science techniques, as demonstrated by CombeChem, enable more data to be more freely available to scientists worldwide from heterogeneous sources, a problem with which industry has wrestled for years. CombeChem has successfully addressed these problems in both practical and theoretical ways. The scientist is crucial and thus the emphasis on usability, has led CombeChem to publish in the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) literature at a time when other e-Science projects were just realising the need for such an approach (SmartTea).