Price, A.R., Goswami, S., Johnson, M., Almajai, I., Williams, G., Mueller, S.A., Rawes, W., Cox, S.J. and Edwards, N.R.
The Aladdin-2 Launchpad: Engaging the user community and broadening access to the GENIE model on local and remote computing resources
At UK e-Science All-Hands Meeting 2009.
07 - 09 Dec 2009.
GENIE is a flexible Earth system modelling framework supporting a distributed community of environmental scientists. GENIE provides the means to couple together component models of the Earth system (ocean, atmosphere, ice-sheets, land surface, etc.) of varying resolution, dimensionality and complexity to create integrated models capable of simulating the planet over millennial timescales. Currently, the fully functional (although continuously evolving) GENIE family of models can be run only by users with technical computing expertise. Users encounter an extensive code base (managed under Subversion source control), a Linux based build environment, an XML based configuration system, third party library dependencies, proprietary input and output data formats (ASCII and/or NetCDF), a Grid-enabled environment for distributed simulation management and a Grid-enabled data management platform (GENIELab). All of these aspects of model management require an understanding and familiarity with a set of supporting tools and software (including Fortran and C compilers, Cygwin, XML/text editors, NetCDF tools, Matlab, X509 certificates, GENIELab). The lack of immediate "out-of-the-box" usability and a steep learning curve have proved a stumbling block to the uptake of the full capabilities of the GENIE framework. With a clear need to improve accessibility to the GENIE framework, the ENGAGE (http://engage.ac.uk) project has funded an initiative to improve the usability of GENIE in both its teaching and research capacities. Aladdin2 will build upon existing, but limited, interfaces to GENIE to provide a new platform independent GUI to act as a unified point of entry to the framework. We describe the requirements of a "front-end" to GENIE, the development of the Aladdin2 tool and discuss the issues in providing an intuitive and usable interface for Earth system modelling across distributed computing resource including the National Grid Service.
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