Parallel Geographic Information Systems for Solving Complex Environmental Problems

EPA Grant Number: R825204
Title: Parallel Geographic Information Systems for Solving Complex Environmental Problems
Investigators: Karimi, Hassan A.
Institution: MCNC / North Carolina Supercomputing Center
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: October 28, 1996 through October 27, 1999
Project Amount: $598,049
RFA: High Performance Computing (1996) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health , Ecosystems , Environmental Statistics


Environmental modeling efforts require sophisticated tools and systems that are easily available to researchers. Geographic Information Systems (GISs) are one of these tools and high-performance computing facilities are one of the systems. Often, environmental researchers spend a great deal of time adjusting the tools and resources available to them to solve their problems. To overcome this problem, a new way of using and accessing high-performance computing resources from desktop machines is proposed. The ultimate objective is to make computing resources easy to use and accessible to environmental researchers, allowing them to concentrate on solving environmental problems, rather than on adjusting tools and resources. To meet this objective, an easy-to-use problem solving environment on desktop machines where researchers can access a wide range of computing and other resources through communication links is considered. Specific objectives include the investigation of a parallel GIS, desktop access to the parallel GIS on HPCC resources, an intelligent mechanism for query understanding and analysis, and the tight coupling of environmental models with GISs.

The results of this project will benefit the environmental community, the GIS community, and the modeling community in general. Desktop access to HPCC resources will not only help solve simple to complex environmental problems, but will also allow researchers to explore new approaches to such problems. The proposed desktop-problem solving environment will allow modelers to easily perform tasks which would otherwise require time-consuming adjustments. The tools created as part of this environment for accessing HPCC resources can be used not only for solving complex environmental problems, but also for solving problems in other complex domains.

The environmental modeling and GIS communities will benefit from having parallel GIS tools available on HPCC resources. Further, these tools will allow tight coupling of environmental models with GISs. Tight coupling will enable modelers to gain the advantages of GIS functionality without modifying their models. Tight coupling will also aid in cross-media modeling, by easing the task of integrating models in different domains.

Finally, such a problem-solving environment will aid environmental modelers by simplifying modelers' access to complex HPCC visualization systems, and by removing from modelers' shoulders, the burden of identifying data and computational resources needed for GIS queries. The proposed problem-solving environment and tools will not only help experienced environmental researchers to concentrate more on the problems and improve their productivity, but will also allow inexperienced users to explore solutions to environmental problems.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 6 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 4 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, computing technology, Ecology and Ecosystems, ecosystem modeling, data sharing, environmental decision making, HPCC, tightly coupling environmental models, desktop computers, computer science, geographical information systems, data management, ecosystem simulation, information technology, parallel computing, GIS

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1997
  • 1998
  • Final