Development of Object-Based Simulation Tools for Distributed Modular Ecological ModelingEPA Grant Number: R827960
Title: Development of Object-Based Simulation Tools for Distributed Modular Ecological Modeling
Investigators: Bolte, John P. , Budd, Timothy
Institution: Oregon State University
EPA Project Officer: Carleton, James N
Project Period: October 1, 1999 through September 30, 2002 (Extended to March 31, 2004)
Project Amount: $247,394
RFA: Computing Technology for Ecosystem Modeling (1999) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Statistics
Ecological models, and supporting computing technology, have evolved to the point were it is feasible to develop truly modular approaches to model construction and implementation. A consistent, robust framework is needed to make this technology readily accessible to the ecological modeling community. The primary objective of the study is to provide this technology by extending an existing object-oriented simulation framework for ecological modeling in four focused areas: 1) underlying object-based technology for implementing and coordinating collections of simulation objects (modules) in an integrated simulation environment, 2) interobject communication technology supporting both single-machine and network-based communication between components of a modular simulation, 3) spatial and nonspatial data input, collection, analysis and visualization, and 4) development of visual programming tools for rapid definition and assembly of model modules into complete, fully functional ecological models and visual interpretation of model results.
This research will result in a set of tools for automating and simplifying the process of developing interoperable object-oriented simulation models for spatially- and nonspatially-explicit ecological systems. The study will use current standard object-oriented languages (C++ and Java) and language-independent object technologies (CORBA/COM/DCOM) to refine and develop a collection of object classes and application programming interfaces (API's), and visual development tools geared towards ecological modelers for simplifying and automating the development of ecological models which may be both spatially distributed and networked via the World-Wide Web. We will work other modeling groups to coordinate activities and approaches to providing technology for modular model development and implementation. To test and evaluate the tools developed, the resulting simulation framework will be utilized to implement a watershed model with hydrologic, ecological and economic components currently being developed in a separate project.
Deliverables from this project will include (1) a series of interface specifications and corresponding code to allow intermodule communication and identification to facilitate modular model development and assembly, 2) a simulation environment providing coordinated execution of module collections, each potentially running as continuous or discrete object at variable timesteps, and 3) a visual assembly tool capable of query single-machine or networked model modules for identification and interface specification, able to assemble these modules into complete simulation models, execute the resulting model, and provide visual interpretation of the results. These products will be made available on the web for utilization by other modeling groups.