A framework for integration of scientific applications into the OpenTopography workflow Abstract


  • The NSF-funded OpenTopography facility provides online access to Earth science-oriented high-resolution LIDAR topography data, online processing tools, and derivative products. The underlying cyberinfrastructure employs a multi-tier service oriented architecture that is comprised of an infrastructure tier, a processing services tier, and an application tier. The infrastructure tier consists of storage, compute resources as well as supporting databases. The services tier consists of the set of processing routines each deployed as a Web service. The applications tier provides client interfaces to the system. (e.g. Portal). We propose a "pluggable" infrastructure design that will allow new scientific algorithms and processing routines developed and maintained by the community to be integrated into the OpenTopography system so that the wider earth science community can benefit from its availability. All core components in OpenTopography are available as Web services using a customized open-source Opal toolkit. The Opal toolkit provides mechanisms to manage and track job submissions, with the help of a back-end database. It allows monitoring of job and system status by providing charting tools. All core components in OpenTopography have been developed, maintained and wrapped as Web services using Opal by OpenTopography developers. However, as the scientific community develops new processing and analysis approaches this integration approach is not scalable efficiently. Most of the new scientific applications will have their own active development teams performing regular updates, maintenance and other improvements. It would be optimal to have the application co-located where its developers can continue to actively work on it while still making it accessible within the OpenTopography workflow for processing capabilities. We will utilize a software framework for remote integration of these scientific applications into the OpenTopography system. This will be accomplished by virtually extending the OpenTopography service over the various infrastructures running these scientific applications and processing routines. This involves packaging and distributing a customized instance of the Opal toolkit that will wrap the software application as an OPAL-based web service and integrate it into the OpenTopography framework. We plan to make this as automated as possible. A structured specification of service inputs and outputs along with metadata annotations encoded in XML can be utilized to automate the generation of user interfaces, with appropriate tools tips and user help features, and generation of other internal software. The OpenTopography Opal toolkit will also include the customizations that will enable security authentication, authorization and the ability to write application usage and job statistics back to the OpenTopography databases. This usage information could then be reported to the original service providers and used for auditing and performance improvements. This pluggable framework will enable the application developers to continue to work on enhancing their application while making the latest iteration available in a timely manner to the earth sciences community. This will also help us establish an overall framework that other scientific application providers will also be able to use going forward.


publication date

  • 2012

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