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Banyan - share collaborate & publish scientific research

Submitted on April 04, 2013

What problem are you intending to solve?

We make it easy for scientists to share collaborate & publish scientific research using gigabit networks

What is the technological approach, or development roadmap?

At Banyan, we are building the "Github of Science" and we are changing the way science works. We make it easy for scientists to share, collaborate and publish scientific research. Users can share their work through secure, public or private, distributed research repositories. To collaborate, researchers use our discussions and project management tools. Publishing is made easy by using our online latex editor and writing tools.

We shipped an early version of Banyan this summer and had users sign up from dozens of institutions from 10 countries around the world. Our early users are from leading research institutions like Stanford, University of Chicago and Oak Ridge National Lab.<br/>

We built Banyan to be simple enough that any researcher can start sharing, publishing, or collaborating on research in just 5 minutes. Researchers use our web application to publish papers, track authorship, and see comparisons of their research in ways that were not possible before Banyan. Because we have integrated with existing tools already used by researchers around the world, it is easy for researchers to adopt Banyan and enjoy these amazing features.

We have taken the customer validation & feedback from our summer launch, and launched a new version of Banyan. Part of this launch includes a desktop application & our next major innovation in the space: Banyan for mac. One of our early testers called it “the sexiest piece of science software” he has ever used.

With the simplicity of our desktop app, we are making it easy for anyone to get involved in science. It doesn't matter if you’re an 18 year old freshman getting started in research or a 55 year old lab veteran. We make collaborative science easy.

How will end users interact with it, and how will they benefit?

End users will interact with Banyan through our desktop application, the terminal, the web application or integrations & plugins for scientific tools. They will benefit from Banyan through a number of ways. Collaboration and communication on large files will now be possible through the use of gigabit networks and Banyan. We can also encourage cross pollination between researchers, encourage researchers to be more social with their data, and fix the authorship problem in science. Solving authorship is a huge benefit for researchers and institutions, who make their livelihood on grants & patents. Banyan also makes it simpler for managers to connect talented scientists and encourage cross pollination. At the University of Kentucky, we found two researchers working on the same thing, a floor apart, who were unaware of one another. Through our dashboard we can connect and introduce researchers to one another. The Dashboard can help managers increase the visibility of their projects while maintaining the information in a secure environment. In our most recent update, we are also adding integration to science specific tools & making them realtime. Some of the tools we are building integrations for are ipython, ipython notebook, rstudio, and shiny

How will your app leverage the 1Gbps, sliceable and deeply programmable network?

We have reached out to the GENI community to get our newest version of Banyan installed at a number of universities. We believe that this will have a profound effect on the speed they are able to communicate at. One of the largest barriers in science & collaboration is bandwidth. As of today, its faster for a researcher at Stanford University to drive down to san francisco airport, take a 1tb hard drive with him, and fly to london, then it would be for them to send their over a 100mb/connection. They would save about 12 hours by flying. To fix that problem, we have partnered with EPB, Mozilla, and US Ignite. We were able to move that same 1TB in about 2 ½ hours cross country to the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California utilizing our software and a GENI rack in Chattanooga. We were able to save about 20 hours using Banyan, gigabit networks, and a GENI rack. We have also started experimenting & developing integrations for science specific tools that will allow researchers to leverage the network to upload realtime ipython notebooks, so multiple scientists around the globe can be working on interactive notebooks.

Further application information

Additional supporting information, materials and resources

Read about project updates - project blog

Take a look at the existing code - project repository

Will your work be beta-ready by the end of the Development Challenge?

Yes, our work is available now on & has hundreds of researchers from around the 12+ countries globe using it.

How much effort do you expect this work to take?

This project is a large undertaking. We are trying to fundamentally change the way that science works. While our product is working & being used, I believe it will carry a "beta" label for at least another 6 to 12 months. We have a lofty development road map and we think there is a ton of room left to innovate with this product.

Do you need help?

Absolutely! Support from industry experts would be the most helpful, but we would never turn away smart developers & additional mentors. Mentors who have industry experience dealing with the National Science Foundation & the National institute of Health are greatly desired. Developers who have deep experience with git and/or HIPAA design would also be a great asset.

If you can help let them know in the comments below.

Toni Gemayel

Growth Hacker. Former VC Analyst. Entrepreneur. Biz Dev. Working on @getbanyan. Winner of the 2012 @thegigcity

and team members

We have a team with strong startup, engineering, and design experience. Our team is: Travis Staton - Travis is our lead Rails and Objective C building our Mac OSX desktop client. He works closely with Anthony and Androwis to ensure our entire tech stack is running smoothly. Travis majored in Graphic design and can often be found debating frontend frameworks with Toni & TJ. TJ Weigel - Works on user experience & front end development. He works closely with our engineering team on product design. TJ co-founded Two Giraffes, a software consultancy and worked with the NHLs Tampa Bay lightning. Anthony Blardo - Anthony is responsible for the work on our API as well as sharing dev ops responsibilities with Androwis and Travis. Occasionally he pair programs Objective C with Travis. Androwis Abmoussa - Androwis is our veteran developer. He is working on his Ph.d in AI, and previously worked as Previously he was Chief of Engineering at SimplyHome and worked at Google. He works primarily on devops and with Travis building out the Mac OSX desktop client. Toni Gemayel - Toni is the CEO of Banyan and works on everything from frontend development to sales and marketing. He keeps on both design and engineering, while making sure the Banyan users needs our met. He is a former VC analyst, and a mentor at the founders institute.

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