, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 373-386
Date: 13 Aug 2009

Experience with BXGrid: a data repository and computing grid for biometrics research

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Abstract

Research in the field of biometrics depends on the effective management and analysis of many terabytes of digital data. The quality of an experimental result is often highly dependent upon the sheer amount of data marshalled to support it. However, the current state of the art requires researchers to have a heroic level of expertise in systems software to perform large scale experiments. To address this, we have designed and implemented BXGrid, a data repository and workflow abstraction for biometrics research. The system is composed of a relational database, an active storage cluster, and a campus computing grid. End users interact with the system through a high level abstraction of four stages: Select, Transform, AllPairs, and Analyze. A high degree of availability and reliability is achieved through transparent fail over, three phase operations, and independent auditing. BXGrid is currently in daily production use by an active biometrics research group at the University of Notre Dame. We discuss our experience in constructing and using the system and offer lessons learned in conducting collaborative research in e-Science.