Paul Watson's research is in scalable information management. This includes work on:
- Cloud Computing. Methods for building scalable cloud-based applications are explored in a range of projects. Since 2007, this has been focused on e-Science Central , a portable cloud platform for storing, analysing and sharing data. e-Science Central is used to support a wide range of applications and users through the Digital Institute. It is also our main research vehicle for cloud research in areas including provenance, scalability, formal methods and federated clouds. Our recent work on using federated clouds to meet the security requirements of applications won the Best Paper award at IEEE CloudCom 2011. Our work on clouds builds on what we learnt in the CARMEN project which designed and built a virtual laboratory to support neuroscientists. A video of Paul talking about CARMEN at the Google Scalability Conference is here.
- Data-intensive e-science. Interest in e-science is resulting in vast amounts of data being published. We worked on how to publish data through services (e.g. see the Databases and the Grid paper, and Databases in Grid Applications: Distribution and Locality) so that it can be exploited in distributed applications. From this, and earlier work in parallel query processing, we collaborated with Norman Paton's group at Manchester to explore how to integrate data held in distributed database servers, exploiting grid computing to dynamically acquire computational resources as they are needed, e.g. to speed-up queries through parallel joins. This led to the release of the widely adopted OGSA-DQP. The legacy of this work continues in many of the e-Research applications we support on e-Science Central.
- Exploring how advanced technologies can improve the lives of those from vulnerable groups, including older people, disabled people, and marginalised youth. Paul directs the £12M Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy" (SiDE) project which aims to realise the potential of digital technologies to transform the lives of those who are excluded. This drives much of our work on cloud computing as SiDE makes heavy use of sensor-based systems which generate large amounts of data that must be analysed in order to understand human behaviour, often in real-time.
Paul Watson teaches on the Cloud Computing MSc.