Visualization and Enabling Technologies

Project Description
SCD's Visualization and Enabling Technologies Section (VETS) has a primary focus of advancing the knowledge development process. Our activities span the development and delivery of software tools for analysis and visualization, the provisioning of advancing visualization and collaboration environments, web engineering for all of UCAR, R&D endeavors in collaboratories, the development of a new generation of data management and access, Grid R&D, novel visualization capabilities, and a sizable outreach effort.

VETS grew to 22 staff members in FY2003, which includes several student contributors and new positions coming from external funds. We were awarded continued NCAR funding for a Cyberinfrastructure Strategic Initiative, and this covers two additional staff positions. We were successful in our bid to the NSF ITR Program and received an award to join with U.C. Davis in developing new visualization technology. We also received a three-year grant from NASA to develop a Grid environment for biogeochemical modeling and analysis, an effort that will have substantial synergy with our Community Data Portal (CDP) and Earth System Grid (ESG) projects. We complete another year as a strong contributor to the Unidata-led THREDDS effort. VETS contributed as an unfunded partner to the NSF Alliance Expedition, Scientific Workspaces of the Future, which is moving forward the tool agenda in the context of the Access Grid. We submitted a proposal to join NSF's Extensible Terascale Facility (ETF) and were competitive, but did not receive an award.

Our NCAR Command Language (NCL) software continues to grow in popularity in atmospheric science research, but it is also being adopted by other agencies, the military, the Earth Simulator Center in Japan, and even in classrooms. We added some important new capabilities this year, in particular the ability to effectively visualize data with curvilinear coordinate systems, which is important for CCSM and other research efforts. This year we launched an aggressive effort to refactor our core software structure in support of developing a new language layer, Python, on top of NCL's formidable capabilities. This is an important first step toward a larger, next-generation framework. We also deployed SGI's Visual Area Networking as a pilot project aimed at evaluating one approach to delivering powerful 3D visualization onto a wide variety of user desktops.

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