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VICE which stands for Visual Interactive Computing Environment is a component of CyVerse’s data science workbench, called the Discovery Environment (DE). VICE allows users to launch web-based applications from the DE. Once an application is launched, users can access the VICE app through a linked URL, they can bring their data from the CyVerse Data Store into the application, or pull data from anywhere on the web using standard requests (curl wget git).

VICE diagram

What is the big idea?

The CyVerse DE hosts a large number of Command Line (CLI) applications for researchers to perform Bioinformatic and data analysis. VICE introduces graphic user interfaces (GUIs) and common Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) such as Project Jupyter Notebooks & Lab, Rstudio, Shiny Apps and Linux Desktop

VICE allows exploratory bioinformatic and geoinformatic data analysis as well as the ability to run ad-hoc scripts.

By working on an advanced, scalable cyberinfrastructure, you are essentially moving your algorithms and code to the center where data and compute live. CyVerse operates on an Internet2 backbone, meaning your data are transferred at rates which likely exceed your local ISP or campus network.

How is VICE different from other DE apps?

The current apps in the DE are non-interactive, meaning the user selects parameters and data for a particular analysis, and submits the job for execution on platforms (Condor, HPC via Agave). When the process completes, the user is notified and they can view their analysis results in a folder. Any desired changes in results requires the user to change analysis parameters and run the job again to full completion. But exploratory data analysis (EDA) requires user to click and interact with running applications (i.e Data Scientists need a Workbench). Availability of computational notebooks (Jupyter, Zepplin) and Rstudio’s Shiny allow users to readily share analysis in a reproducible manner and technologies like Javascript, WebGL, and others are making the web browser an extremely capable workbench

VICE lets users interact with their data and do analyses in their favorite programming language in one place in an iterative way. Researchers can now explore their datasets interactively by easily changing parameters of selected analysis applications without having to download data from storage to an active workspace.


VICE combines the cyberinfrastructure power of CyVerse with the interactivity of modern web-based IDE and data science software, allowing researchers to work seamlessly with their data within a single, high-performance data science workbench.