Elsevier Announces Winners of the Executable Paper Grand Challenge

Contest created to improve the way scientific information is communicated and used

Amsterdam, 7 June 2011 – Elsevier, a leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, has announced the winners of, a program Elsevier created to address the difficulties associated with reproducing computer science research results. The awards presentation ceremony took place at the 2011 International Conference on Computational Science (ICCS) on June 2 in Singapore.

The winners, selected from a pool of 70 submissions by a distinguished nine-member jury, are as follows:

First Prize
Top honors went to The Collage Authoring Environment, whose team members include:
Piotr Nowakowski, Eryk Ciepiela, Daniel Harężlak, Joanna Kocot, Marek Kasztelnik, Tomasz Bartyński, Jan Meizner, and Grzegorz Dyk, ACC CYFRONET AGH, Kraków, Poland, and Maciej Malawski of the Institute of Computer Science AGH, Kraków, Poland, and the Center for Research Computing, University of Notre Dame, USA. The Collage Authoring Environment is a scalable architecture designed to support authors, reviewers, and end users as well as publishers. The system allows researchers to create papers by combining narrative discussion with snippets of executable code. 

“The Collage system addressed, in the most comprehensive way, the concept of an executable paper,” said Dr. Peter Sloot of the University of Amsterdam, External Chair of the Grand Challenge and ICCS Conference Chair. “It presents this vision in a robust architecture, from the standpoint of multiple workflows and end-user perspectives, and allows the easy integration of other components.”

Second Prize
Pieter Van Gorp of Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, and Steffen Mazanek, Munich, Germany, won second prize for SHARE: A Web Portal for Creating and Sharing Executable Research Papers.SHARE (Sharing Hosted Autonomous Research Environments) is a Web portal to a catalog of virtual machines. By deploying a copy of the required operating system in SHARE as well as relevant software and data, authors can make a conventional paper fully reproducible and interactive.

Third Prize
Matan Gavish and David Donoho, Stanford University, received third prize for A Universal Identifier for Computational Results. The Universal Identifier is a specific implementation of one aspect the executable paper–an ID resolution system for results. The proposed solution is simple and elegant, and confers ease of use by adding one or two lines of code. 

About the Executable Paper Grand Challenge
Elsevier formed the Executable Paper Grand Challenge to address the problem that computer science research results can be difficult to reproduce. Vital blocks of information needed to replicate such results - for example, software, code, large data sets—are typically unavailable within the context of a scholarly publication. The Executable Paper Grand Challenge creates an opportunity for scientists to design solutions that capture this information and provide a platform whereby this data can be verified and manipulated.

“The Executable Paper Grand Challenge was created with a view to the future of scholarly communication, which increasingly integrates the experiment and its presentation,” Dr. Sloot noted. “The vision is a future where research is executable on all levels, including data, results, and methodology.”

Rebecca Capone, Publisher, Theoretical Computer Science, Elsevier, and co-organizer of the Grand Challenge, added: “As publishers, it is our responsibility to not only meet the needs of contemporary researchers but to also anticipate the needs of future scientists. Executable data both enriches the content and documents the essential building blocks of the experiment for the next generation.”

Anita de Waard, Director, Disruptive Technologies, Elsevier, sees the continued collaboration between the very different sets of tools and solutions presented during the Executable Paper sessions as a very dynamic way forward. “Collectively we hope to develop new infrastructures and knowledge environments that will allow for a richer and deeper representation of our science,” she said.

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About ICCS 2011
Since 2001, ICCS has brought together researchers and scientists from various disciplines, along with software developers and vendors, to discuss problems and solutions, identify new issues, and shape future directions for research, as well as help industrial users apply various advanced computational techniques. These include researchers from mathematics and computer science and basic computing disciplines, as well as researchers from various application areas who are pioneering advanced application of computational methods to sciences such as physics, chemistry, life sciences, and engineering, and arts and humanitarian fields.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence, and ClinicalKey — and publishes nearly 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

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