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Fundamental Science Directorate
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Advanced Comput, Math & Data
Research Highlights

September 2007

Knowledge Foundations & Collaboratories

Bringing together people, tools, and science

Knowledge Foundations and Collaboratories form a toolbox that is scalable to the computational and software resources available to the scientist. The toolbox contains many components that support the scientific discovery process including: workflow, communications, security, an extensible/scalable graphical user interface and data model, model execution, information and resource management, data and metadata management and navigation, collaborative technologies, and analysis and synthesis technologies. Collaborative problem-solving environments (CPSEs) are the "glue," or integrator, that binds these technologies and capabilities into domain-specific environments. Some of the components are general to all scientific domains and are built as a base infrastructure. Other components are very specific to the science and the problems that are being researched.

PNNL is developing and integrating state-of-the-art tools and technologies to support areas of scientific research that are becoming increasingly important—modeling, simulation, visualization, and collaboration. With CPSEs, scientists and engineers can gain efficient access to advanced computational tools and the ability to analyze, manage, and share large amounts of data.

CPSEs can improve scientific discovery by providing a convenient, seamless environment for scientists and engineers to manipulate and analyze data as they perform modeling and simulation tasks. These environments also facilitate the sharing of computational resources, scientific equipment, and data with researchers who are working together from remote locations.

The goal of many large modeling and simulation projects is to produce high-performance modeling software and supporting development tools on advanced computer architectures along with the needed application expertise and solutions. In the tools used to collaborate, a significant transformation is required to set up, manage, and analyze computational experiments, and to manage large, complex data sets. The integration of these tools into an innovative, CPSE provides the computational facilities necessary to solve a variety of targeted problems. Development of a general framework for a CPSE led to a standard software architecture that allows software modules from many sources to cooperate in solving complex scientific problems. Analogously, scientists are unlikely to be co-located while working on these problems, and require tools to facilitate the cooperative scientific process over long distances. Sophisticated communication networks will link the facilities of the future, and the interactions of scientists will have a large virtual component, as research is conducted in collaboration with scientists at many remote locations. This is especially true for the large-scale problems facing the U.S. Department of Energy and the nation in the environmental arena, where no one scientist or group can be expected to solve the problem individually.

The key to our successful development of CPSEs is creating cross-disciplinary teams for the requirements, design, and development stages of the software process. The mix of computer scientists, mathematicians, physicists, engineers, and domain specialists provides a base from which to develop software that focuses on solving the right problems.

Related Technologies & Applications

Contact: Deborah Gracio


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