Recent publications and our experiences in interacting with data practitioners in the Max-Planck-Society (MPS) indicate that the way in which we deal with data currently is not sufficient to meet the challenges of the future. Even though Max Planck Institutes (MPIs) are in a better position than many university departments, as they can employ “data specialists”, we see that we are running into the same problems as many other institutions and scientists.
The general trends are that the mass of data is increasing exponentially, and new formats emerge constantly. This increase in data and complexity requires new procedures. The data needs to be stored for many years, while ensuring continuous access, provenance, integrity, etc. This cannot be done by any single MPI, and should not be attempted over and over again. Therefore, bundling of forces is in order, and has also been currently strongly suggested by the IT Strategy Committee of the Max Planck Society.
For these reasons four strong data centers in the Max Planck Society have decided to closely collaborate under the label SciDaM (Science Data Centre of the Max Planck Society). SciDaM will work with scientists on data challenges in the MPS across disciplines. The data centers currently involved are: RZG (Computer Center Garching), DKRZ (German Climate Computing Center Hamburg), GWDG (Society for Scientific Computing Göttingen) and TLA (The Language Archive at MPI for Psycholinguistics Nijmegen).
These strong data centers come from different scientific disciplines and have different expertise. We want to use synergy to deal with the increasing demands on data within the MPS.