Lecture series “Information and Structure”: Dr. h.c. Peter Wittenburg (09.06.2021)

The lecture begins at 16:15. Please contact ringvorlesung.decisions@uni-bremen.de for login credentials.

Peter Wittenburg

Max-Planck Computing & Data Facility, Garching

Data Infrastructures for the Coming Decades


Digitization and thus generating and processing data has a long tradition in research but is now becoming an overwhelming trend in the whole society. We start understanding that this trend will revolutionise societies, research and industry. Not only the data volumes are increasing, but especially the complexity due to the interdependences between the various digital entities. Consequently, we start talking about infrastructures that will be needed to efficiently manage and process this complex data space, but also implement mechanisms to ensure privacy and establish trust.

Yet, companies offering platforms see the data they are collecting as their goods and mostly researchers still create data for their own purposes. Big companies and some governments invest large sums of funds (EOSC, NFDI, etc.) to get a deeper understanding of the kind of infrastructures needed and to remain at the competitive edge. However, completely different interests will hamper to establish the degree of harmonisation which will be required to enable the easy, nevertheless secure exchange which is needed. There is a growing interest to not leave the choice of basic pillars of the emerging data infrastructure to a few large profit-making companies.

Experience shows that defining new types of standards in such transformational times needs to anticipate trends to be expected in the coming decades. This is the reason that an international group of experts is working on the concept of FAIR Digital Objects (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) which are self-standing and secure data entities in the Internet including all relevant information. The Internet protocols, invented a few decades ago, created a unified international computer network where everyone easily can plug-in his/her computer. The FDOs needs to enable people to easily plug-in their data and trace their usage. It will be important to ensure that the FDO concept will not owned by a company, nor by any particular state.

In this talk all mentioned issues will be addressed ending up with a few recommendations to be discussed.

Some Readings

1 There is much talk about the EOSC Portal but it should be noted that this is only a development of some institutions not representing EOSC.