Integrated computer modelling approaches to environmental systems
In order to understand how pressures such as climate change and developments impact the environment we need model not just physical, chemical and biological parameters, but how these parameters interact to affect the whole system. Environmental systems couple many natural processes and simulating them accurately demands modelling them in a similar fashion. Modelling such systems more accurately can be done in two ways: either simulate everything in one large model or link smaller models together. FluidEarth focuses on the second approach: linking existing computer models together to form integrated compositions.
The FluidEarth platform is based on the concept of writing a ‘wrapper’ for software codes, and on providing a generic linking mechanism so that any model can be linked to any other. The linking of models works on the basis of data exchange between each model wrapper as each time-step proceeds. The standard that defines how such interfacing should work is called Open MI and has been established by a number of leading centres across Europe.
FluidEarth also addresses a key problem for developers who need to link models together in that it provides a collection of ready-wrapped models from the partner organisations. These partners are mainly leading UK universities, but as FluidEarth develops it will be extended to a wider range of organisations. FluidEarth is not just a software platform but it is also a collaborative community of researchers, and provides them with “pull-through”of the modelling solutions they develop, once validated, and facilitates uptake by the user community.
HR Wallingford has created the Fluid Earth portal - the resource centre for the Fluid Earth integrated modelling community.
FluidEarth won a medal at the UK IT Industry Awards 2009 in the Research Category and was short-listed in the Environment and Innovation categories. The portal was highly commended at the AGI awards 2009, and HR Wallingford won an OpenMI award in 2010 for work wrapping our standard timeseries database.
The FluidEarth platform is based on the concept of writing a ‘wrapper’ for software codes, and on providing a generic linking mechanism so that any model can be linked to any other.