, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 1-25

The Requirements of Using Provenance in e-Science Experiments

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Abstract

In e-Science experiments, it is vital to record the experimental process for later use such as in interpreting results, verifying that the correct process took place or tracing where data came from. The process that led to some data is called the provenance of that data, and a provenance architecture is the software architecture for a system that will provide the necessary functionality to record, store and use process documentation to determine the provenance of data items. However, there has been little principled analysis of what is actually required of a provenance architecture, so it is impossible to determine the functionality they would ideally support. In this paper, we present use cases for a provenance architecture from current experiments in biology, chemistry, physics and computer science, and analyse the use cases to determine the technical requirements of a generic, technology and application-independent architecture. We propose an architecture that meets these requirements, analyse its features compared with other approaches and evaluate a preliminary implementation by attempting to realise two of the use cases.