2002 Annual

Thursday, 17 January 2002: 10:59 AM
The Distributed Marine Environment Forecast System (DMEFS)
Pat J. Fitzpatrick, Mississippi State University, Stennis Space Center, MS; and A. Mehra, J. Corbin, J. McCaffrey, T. Haupt, P. Bangalore, G. Henley, R. Moorhead, J. van der Zwaag, and M. Bettencourt
Poster PDF (34.6 kB)
The past decade witnessed the proliferation of mature modeling packages as well as rapidly evolving computer technology which is making high-resolution modeling possible. In addition, the Internet phenomenon with constantly increasing network speed has driven technology revolutions, one of which is the development of web portals with easy user interfaces that hides the complexities of the underlying software. Currently, numerical models require considerable programming and UNIX knowledge and there exists only minimal capability to interface with models via a web browser. One of the goals of the Distributed Marine Environment Forecast System (DMEFS) is to develop an infrastructure for accessing high performance computing resources via a web browser to support research and operational modeling needs. Since DMEFS is a new approach to modeling, the software is setup in a generalized fashion to allow for future developments or alterations as the software evolves. A description of DMEFS now follows.

DMEFS is accessed through a web browser. The next step involves a login procedure. In addition, a group is selected from the following eight categories: customer, operator, analyst, developer, administrator, demonstrator, and visitor. All logins will contain different interfaces, and contain a hierarchy of login privileges. Those with customer access typically are only interested in the model output, and have options for choosing different model products. Those with operator access can monitor current model submissions and the status of current runs, but also contain the permissions reserved for customer. Those with analyst access have the same permissions as customer and operator, but additionally can also modify model runs or products. Developer login?s typically install and test model runs, and have all the above permissions; the developer?s role, where much of the current research is focused is discussed below. The administrator?s role is similar to ?root? on a UNIX machine, with all-encompassing privileges including account management. The demonstrator and visitor logins are as the names imply: logins for presentations, or to visit the DMEFS website with no specific privileges.

There are two major steps in configuring applications on DMEFS. One is application registration, and the other is defining a project, both of which are performed by the developer. An application may be any software package; often, it is a wave, oceanography, or meteorology model, but it could be any statistical and mathematical program. These applications may be registered as private (limited to the user?s access) or to the public domain. These applications must be installed on machines which DMEFS can access, and a form (encoded in XML) is filled out the first time describing the location of executables, its arguments and switches, input and output files, and optionally the template of a batch script which ingests model configurations such as forecast times, nesting options, physics options, etc. The developer, operator, or analyst may be able to input these options manually through a GUI interface written in a java applet, or through a form page.

A project is a very general definition, and could be anything such as a research assignment, a field program, or an operational job-stream; this project is then broken into several tasks which serve specific purposes using one of the registered applications. Examples using WAM and COAMPS (as registered applications) in several projects will be presented at the conference.

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