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LOOPS Technology Architecture
Highly interactive models and tools require applications that run locally on student computers; probes need to interface to communications resources in computer hardware, and compute-intense applications like the Molecular Workbench must execute locally. Yet the deployment of instructional materials, assessments, and progress reporting is better handled by a web application running on a server.
This combination of Web managed materials and data with client-side applications is difficult to achieve. Most other instructional materials are either web-based and accept the limitations that this implies, or are client-based and lack the advantages that the cyberinfrastructure offers. Thus, we are firmly committed to a hybrid approach for the near-term future as the best architecture to realize the full potential of LOOPS technology. The main technologies involved in this architecture are SAIL and Otrunk.
We are mindful of the fact that our particular technology is not the only implementation of a web-managed/client application architecture. We have gone to great lengths to make our technology modular and to engage researchers worldwide in parallel efforts. To enable sharing, all LOOPS software is freely available under a LGPL open source license, and all our materials are released under the Digital Commons share-like non-commercial license.