Development of Pulsar Search Collaboratory Website as a Scientific Collaboration Tool
The goal of this project was to develop a database and a web application for the research project called the Pulsar Search Collaboratory (PSC). The PSC is a joint project between the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and West Virginia University and it is designed to get high school students involved in the scientific research. The PSC web application enables the astronomers to upload the data collected from the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) and allows high school students to analyze the data. It also provides a place to store feedback from the students so that the astronomers can retrieve and use their feedback in an effort to discover astronomical objects called pulsars.
The main requirements of the PSC application was for the students to have access to the data and leave their feedback to the database; for the high school teachers to monitor the student’s activities; for the astronomers to review the students feedback; and for the administrator to manage the user memberships. The earlier version of this web application was developed and launched in October 2008. The requirements have been modified many times and the PSC application has evolved significantly since then. This paper presents the requirements and the PSC application, which is still being developed, based on requests by the astronomers at WVU and the Green Bank and the PSC administrator.