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Scientific applications and databases rarely interoperate easily. That is, scientific researchers who use computers expend significant time and effort writing special procedures to use their program with someone else’s data, or their data with someone else’s programs. These problems are exacerbated in modern computing environments, which consist of multiple computers of possibly different types. Database researchers at the Scientific Database Laboratory at the Oregon Graduate Institute are using objectoriented databases to address problems of program and data interoperability. For the domain of computational chemistry, we are extending an existing object database system to facilitate the invocation, monitoring, and output capture of a variety of independently developed programs (aka legacy applications). A complementary project in materials science explores providing application programs with a common interface to a variety of separately published datasets. We are also developing an object-oriented toolbox to access the contents of a database of protein structures. We describe these three projects, then discuss their status and our future directions.


Originally published in the Bulletin of the Technical Committee on Data Engineering, 16(1):9–13, March 1993.