UNIVERSITY CORPORATION FOR ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). Scaling Up is a program of research and development that will enable virtual organizations in the Earth sciences to scale to massive interdisciplinary "communities of communities." A key element is commodity governance, which encodes social and technical aspects of governance in cyberinfrastructure to create virtual units capable of operating, aggregating, and coordinating in a decentralized fashion. This is a deeply integrative effort that synthesizes expertise in the physical sciences, computer science, political science, social science, and software engineering to propose a strategy for governing large-scale Earth science modeling collaborations that are technically, scientifically, and socially complex.
Investigators will conduct a sociotechnical study of three interlinked modeling projects in climate, weather, and surface dynamics, and formulate a conceptual framework that addresses the requirements, structures, and policies of virtual organizations in these and similar modeling domains as a basis for commodity governance implementation. Commodity governance units will be implemented on a base of cyberinfrastructure projects that are emerging as a means for expressing modeling activities as end-to-end workflows, accessible through science gateways. The units will be disseminated through the base cyberinfrastructure and demonstrated, to the extent possible, in the target modeling projects. It will be fully utilized in a pilot project focused on the intercomparison of atmospheric dynamical cores.
The commoditized governance elements, as their name implies, are expected to be applicable to many modeling virtual organizations, including disciplines such as space weather, ecosystem modeling and fusion. Products of the collaboration will be incorporated into and distributed with the widely used cyberinfrastructure products generated by the Earth System Grid and Earth System Modeling Framework, and introduced to the extent possible into several large virtual organizations. A pilot project that will demonstrate extensive use of tools and concepts introduced by the collaboration will involve graduate students in exemplary processes for model development - the careful, exhaustive analysis of specific components through rigorous collaborative testing. Commodity governance itself is intended to be a powerful democratizing force in the modeling community, as it lowers barriers of entry for smaller and marginalized groups by encouraging accessibility to modeling artifacts and transparent, decentralized decision making processes. The domain in which the proposed work is focusing - the interrelationships of climate, weather, and surface processes - is a key to understanding and addressing critical societal questions about the effects of climate change.