Purdue University Supports Institutional Research with Web-Based Data Environment, Lowers Ownership Costs and Increases Flexibility
 
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Purdue University Supports Institutional Research with Web-Based Data Environment, Lowers Ownership Costs and Increases Flexibility

Purdue University—founded on May 6, 1896—is a major research institution known for discoveries in science, technology, engineering, math, and beyond. Today, Purdue enrolls the second-largest student body of any university in Indiana as well as the second-largest international student population of any public university in the United States.

The Department of Computer and Information Technology, within Purdue’s College of Technology, exposes students to software development, systems integration, data management, and computer networks. The department deployed Oracle Application Express and Oracle Database 11g in a cloud environment to ensure agility in various research projects—spanning from biomedical to political science—to meet a set of continually evolving requirements. The department uses Oracle tools to build and manage research-oriented, data-intensive applications and can now develop and deploy an application in about two weeks—a process that used to take up to two months.

Further, using the Oracle tools, Purdue University researchers worked with the the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center (KTB) to develop software that translates tissue samples into a digital data repository with images of stained tissue, viewable under a virtual microscope. This new approach to imaging could help earlier breast cancer detection and enable doctors to more effectively tailor treatments to individuals.

 
 

 
 

Challenges

A word from Purdue University

  • “Oracle Database 11g and Oracle Application Express form the foundation to provide our researchers with a secure and reliable Web-enabled environment that gives them the tools they need to successfully filter and reduce data, as well as to generate hypotheses, without being slowed by weeks or months of software obstacles.” – John A. Springer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Computer and Information Technology, Purdue University

  • Ensure agility in research projects—spanning from biomedical, to political science—to meet a set of continually evolving requirements
  • Reduce time and effort required to deploy application development environments and lower the total cost of technology ownership

Solutions

  • Deployed Oracle Database 11g and Oracle Application Express to provide researchers with a database environment that is secure, reliable, easy to use, and quick to deploy, as well as an integrated Web-based development environment to enable the university research community to manage data and build Web applications to support various programs
  • Used Oracle Application Express, a rapid Web application development tool for Oracle Database, to build and manage research-oriented, data-intensive applications—enabling the university develop and deploy an application in about two weeks, a process that used to take up to two months
  • Improved agility by enabling the university to reuse functionality from one application as it is building another with Oracle Application Express
  • Worked with KTB to develop, in a cloud computing environment, software that will translate tissue samples into a digital data repository with images of stained tissue viewable under a virtual microscope and annotated with commentary by globally preeminent breast pathologists
  • Reduced research costs with High Performance Systems’ (HPS)—part of the Research Technologies division of the Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute—service, granting researchers greater flexibility in pursuing scientific discoveries during the course of the KTB study
  • Gave researchers the tools they need to successfully filter and reduce data, as well as generate hypotheses, without being slowed by weeks or months of software obstacles
  • Built a system to enable 10 to 20 clinical proteomics researchers to create cohorts that have similarities—such as age and gender—for comparison purposes in research studies
  • Worked with the Purdue University’s Liberal Arts department on a political science/democracy project to build a system that looks across different countries at socio-political factors, such as elections and how parties fared at national/subnational levels, and enabled political scientists to query and examine the data
  • Used Oracle Application Express in the College of Technology’s Department of Computer and Information Technology to aggregate information on department courses that will play a critical role in the university’s accreditation process
  • Reduced operational costs, hardware requirements, and the software’s total cost of ownership by using a cloud computing environment—enabling university researchers and IT to focus on research programs, rather than on IT management
  • Used the tool’s collaborative services to make the university more competitive for future research opportunities

Why Oracle

“We were one of the first universities that had a relationship with Oracle Academy [which provides education for secondary schools in the fundamentals of database and Java technology], so the decision to go with Oracle was an easy one,” said John A. Springer, Ph.D., associate professor, department of computer and information technology, Purdue University “We have quite a bit of knowledge about Oracle from coursework that we teach, so the familiarity with Oracle, the knowledge that it is going to scale well as we gain more users, face bigger challenges, and add more data was a huge selling point for us.”

Implementation Process

Purdue deployed Oracle Database and Oracle Application Express three years ago for its first cancer research project. It upgraded to Oracle Database 11g within the last year and a half. The university hosts that project at Purdue Discovery Park, which provides various biological services across the campus to help researchers. Purdue hosts the project with KTB at Indiana University. These cloud implementations enable Purdue to focus on research and functionality, rather than on IT support.