The EGI Interoperability Standards Program (ISP)
The analytic needs of neuroscience researchers cover a wide range - with the best tool choice often dictated by research agenda, collaboration plans, and personal preference. To accomplish their work, EGI customers count on being able to supplement Net Station’s functionality with third party or open source hardware and software. Historically, EGI maintained the interfaces with the products it directly distributed, such as E-Prime and BESA, but did not formally track the interfaces with other software commonly used by its customers. This situation has sometimes resulted in the unintentional breaking of input/output (I/O) functionality with new Net Station releases. We at EGI know this can be frustrating for the labs that are adversely affected by these transitions.
To make using GES 300 and 400 data with other software packages easier and more predictable, EGI launched the “Interoperability Standards Program” (ISP) in August 2010. Participation in the EGI ISP is open to other research software vendors and open source/freeware authors/distributors, whether or not EGI distributes the software product. The program will also be open to clinical products, but with additional restrictions to meet regulatory requirements.
The ISP program includes three tiers of support:
Tier 1: Products EGI sells and supports
These are supported products for which EGI typically offers training, support, and often special integration for improved functionality access to new features. EGI maintains close ties with the companies that make the products in this tier and use the software in our in-house research to the greatest extent possible to ensure on-staff expertise. File I/O integration with these products is routinely tested with new EGI software releases.
Tier 2: Products that adopt EGI's file format and connectivity standards, but are neither sold by nor supported by EGI
This new level is open to participating vendors (commercial, open source, and shareware) who adopt Net Station’s metafile format (MFF) and network time protocol (NTP) standards. Vendors participating in Tier 2 will receive timely notification from EGI regarding upcoming software changes and known bugs that may affect I/O functionality with their products. As a part of the NS release process (either pre- or post-initial release), EGI will test the latest version provided by the vendor for reliable I/O and timing. Information on the results will be posted to the EGI web site so customers can assess the suitability for their work. EGI will also provide troubleshooting support for participating vendors, but will not offer end-user support for the software beyond the export/import and timing functionality.
Tier 3: Products that customers are using with Net Station that do not adopt EGI's file format and connectivity standards
EGI support engineers and scientists are often made aware of creative customer software integration solutions that may be of interest to other customers. As part of the new ISP, we will maintain a list of these solutions on the EGI website. No other support or testing will be provided.
Adding New Programs to the ISP Program
We are currently providing program information and the MFF and NTP implementation packets to interested parties.
We see this program as a key way EGI can provide additional value to our customers and hope to see widespread participation.